Gus Wing

Lydia Wing c/o Skydive Deland
1600 Flightline Dr. Deland, FL 32724

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fly gus


so nice to get to know you, so sad youre no longer with us....


In November 2004 I had the great honor of skydiving with Gus Wing. It was my very first jump. We had to wait a while for the skies to clear in order to make our jump.  Gus took the time to talk with my friend and I and answered many questions from me. There is a photo taken as they had just jumped from the plane with Gus, my friend and his tandem instructor. We titled it "the perfect dive". It's a treasure.

I will always remember Gus for the friendly person he was. Happy and full of spirit.  See you over the rainbow, Gus...  You have inspired many. Mark Higgins, West Virginia

Mark G Higgins

Wow - from what we have just learned of this incredible man by reading all these thoughts, we are truly sorry that we never knew him. Lydia - this must hurt - we're so very sorry - thank you for letting us have a peek into his life. Wish we could help, but somehow we're convinced that he will help you... Hang in there Lydia, you have always been strong.

Erika, Mathew, Jillian & Alexann Halter

You will be missed Gus


I remember my first step in the skydiving community back in the 1999 and those video seen at space center from Gus.(fly like a pro or breakaway) + footage from some friend who use to jump at Deland. Because of those I still practise my passion and  will always have a though for you Gus each time i will exit a plane. My though goes also to your wife and a family that you left behind.

Ciel bleu Gus.




I haven't seen Gus in a few years, but the recent tragic news hit real hard because of this wonderful man's smiling, happy go lucky, always welcoming demeanor.  I haven't jumped in a long time but, Gus was a skidiver I will always hold dear in my memories of those fun and exciting years. Now you fly with the Angels Gus. My sincere condolences and prayers to his wife, family and close fiends.

God Bless

Dave McCallan

Hey Partner,

It was a once in a life time dream.  I wouldnt have missed it either for the world!

September 1995 World Freestyle Championship, Germany

Frannie Young Slater

My name is Paul Kirk and I am an AFF L3 student from Dallas, Texas.  Honestly, I have never had the honor of meeting Mr. Wing personally, but as with the skydiving culture goes...he was one of our own and as with any skydiver we will miss him greatly. I would like to state that the sport I love so much is hazardous but I will never quit or give up what I love so much, as I'm sure Mr. Wing would agree.  In any case, I send my prayers to you and your family and wish you the comfort of many skydivers and their families in your time of grief.


Paul A. Kirk

From 1977 to 1979 I managed the main student darkroom at the University of Virginia. Many colorful characters used the darkroom back in those colorful days, but none of them was more memorable than our friend, Gus Wing.

Gus was more than a regular at the darkroom for a while he practically lived there. When he would show up, he always had that mischievous smile, and he always seemed glad to see you. He exuded a certain positive aura and generally saw the bright side of things and when he didn't, he has something dryly funny to say about whatever it was. He started taking black and white photos of moisture and condensation on things (all kinds of things), and the images were somewhat abstract. He took the art of his photography quite seriously, and he pursued that single visual motif for quite a while, creating images that I always found interesting. He became quite a skilled craftsman at taking and printing black and white photos. My nickname while I ran the darkroom was "Captain Hypo." Gus would always walk in and, grinning like a Cheshire cat, say "Howdy, Cap'n!"

Eventually Gus got into a new activity that he constantly talked about skydiving in Orange County, near Charlottesville. He spoke of skydiving with a more intensified enthusiasm than he usually showed towards other things he was involved with. One day he brought to the darkroom his skydiving helmet to show me how he had rigged up a mount to hold his 35mm still camera. Before long, all of the photos that he printed were of his dives bye, bye moisture, hello skydiving. I must have seen hundreds of his skydiving pictures before I moved to New York City so that I could attend grad school.

For a number of years I kept up with several of people I encountered during my time in Charlottesville and the darkroom, and today I manage to keep up with just a couple of them. Time, distance, jobs and kids seem to have a way of whittling all of the people that we've known in our lives down to just a precious few. Gus wasn't one of the people I'd talk to over the phone, but for quite a long time I would hear stories about him from someone or other: he was married; he wasn't married; he moved to Florida; he was married again; and he was actually making a living at skydiving and photography. Years went by and I didn't hear anything about him. Then recently, Jim ("Jamie," back then) Peters, who was a student who also used the darkroom (and probably knew Gus better than I did), called to tell me the news. I don't have to tell you how I felt that day how I feel now. I haven't talked to Gus since the last time I saw him in Charlottesville back in '79, but it is only recently, since I got the news, that I miss him.

Back in Charlottesville in the late '70's, my Ex and I would go up to New York City for the weekend. We were walking past the Strand Used Bookstore at Broadway and 12th Street, and Sherry saw an old book with a green cover called "Gus the Great." We bought it and gave it go Gus when we got back to town. That was 26 years ago and I'm goddamned if, after all this time, that title doesn't still ring true.

RIP, Gus the Great
Alan (Rick) Fischer
Aka "Captain Hypo"
Norfolk, VA

Lydia and Skydiving family,

Gus shot the video when my daughter, Jeni, and I tandemed jumped for her High School graduation two years ago. I have made it a tradition to tandem jump with each graduating child...Jeni was my second (fourth tandem for me though).  Tomorrow, Evan, my third HS graduating senior and I will make another jump.  These have been awesome memories!!  (Still one more next year.....THEN, on to college graduations!)

Thank you, Gus for allowing rookies as well as the experienced divers to cherish the memories forever!!

Lydia, I wish you well during this difficult time! May God bless you and give you peace!!


Hey Partner,

It was a once in a life time dream.  I wouldn't have missed it "either" for the world!

  "Compulsories are your friend" giggle giggle

September 1995 World Freestyle Championship, Germany

Thank you, thank you, thank you .............

Frannie Freestyle
Frances Young  (Slater)

 I have just come back to skydiving after a 3 month break to hear this very sad news. I had the privalage to meet Gus at Skydive Deland on two brief visits to the US.

We sat at the bar having a coffee i think and just chatted,  i had never met him befor and didnt know who he was until i returned to Spain.

He left the bar and went back to work but left me with good advice and an understanding of the passion for what he did. what a great person and an honor to have met even for a short period of time.

Gary Burchett

Thanks Gus.You made the world a better and happier place.

john priest

Hi. I had the chance to take my dad for a tandem on his 50th birthday in early April this year. Gus was the photographer on the jump and took a bunch of great pictures of my dad's hilarious expressions and waves of skin. I got to go out right before my dad and Gus also snapped a great shot of me over DeLand, but the best one is one of my father and I afterward. I raced over to my dad after I gathered my canopy and gave him a hug. I didn't even see Gus there, but as always, Gus left no detail unattended and my mom still shows people the picture of my dad and I hugging each other after his first jump. I was unfortunately in the waiting room  with my friend as the call came through that Gus was lost. I watched his wife and family cry and was very upset that even while praying I knew there was nothing I could do or say to help, but I just wanted to even if only a small way give something back that Gus gave us. He was an incredibly special man and will be missed.


Dear Lydia!  Just to tell you that both you and Gus are in my Heart @ all times - always with a smile :)

With all my love and respect,


I would just like to say,my thoughts are with all friends and family of gus,even though i never met him, i feel like i have thruogh this awsome site, gus would be proud!!

love and respect
jim unsworth

I used to work out at the DZ back when "A la Carte" was "THE" perfect spot. On a couple occasions I was taken as baggage to help a couple guys get their tandem certification. Percs of the job! Gus came to the window and offered a trade.... a Mr. West Sandwich and a good sixpack for a video and pics. How could I refuse? Well, now I have my tandem harness on and all of a sudden, EVERYONE decides that they are hungry. Gus decides to film me running around that stupid little kitchen with my harness on trying like crazy to get out the door. This part of the vid is also accompanied by a deadpan narrative that could only come from Gus. We finally make it up. On this particular jump, Solly is taking me up. The guys, knowing that I'm not your average newbie decide to have a little fun. Solly T's his leg and Gus, on his back, comes right up underneath us and gets some great REALLY close in vid of me just havin' a good 'ol time. When he's under canopy he pulls his helmet off and looks in the camera and quips off a short narrative about me jumping, but talking directly to me through the camera. He ends with a "Woo-Hoo! Skydive!". The pic of my exit is one that I cherish deeply. I always felt that I could almost tickle God's whiskers when looking at that pic. Thanks Gus for preserving that moment for me. I felt very priviledged to be a part of that extended family while I worked there. Gus was like one of those older brother or uncle types that made sure everything was done safely and correct, but not losing sight of the fact that having fun was a big part of the equation. If ever there was an ambassador of the sport, Gus was unequivocally that person. Bill, don't ever lose sight that this was just one of those freak accidents. My heart goes out to Gus' family and Bill as well. Blue skies! Blue skies to all of you who dance in the clouds.

Danny Sorensen

Rock in the skies forever

blue ones

I want to express my sorrow over the lost of gus . I never jumped with him,but respected his work and drive toward the the work he loved so very much.He is the best !

Paul Gundlach

When I reflect and think of Deland, I have a feeling of freedom. This is one of the very reasons that Gus's face comes to mind when I think of my old friends there. I remember when Gus and Lydia first met, I knew then that they were two very fortunate people to share what they did..  it certainly is rare in these times.

Lydia, my heart aches for you and we shared our 100th jump together and Gus was there. Who would have thought?  I certainly didn't. 

I am thankful that most of the old gang is still together and that you have the support you need.  If there is ever anything you need, please do not hestitate to ask.

God speed Gus!

Donna Hudepohl

i have only done one tandom jump many years ago. I met gus 3 yaers ago inside the skydive at the restaurant. crazy but we talked baseball, sports and politics and the skydive jump of the day was outside. great guy to have a conversation with and never new the accomplisments he had with skydiving. anyway just wanted everyone to know that he was a great person away from the the drop zone as well.

from the guys at the bar

Man, I got this huge flush of emotion that went through me when I heard about your accident. I just could not believe you are gone.  Unbelievable! You're a great guy and you will be sorely missed by us all.

Harold McBride

i did my first jump in deland and gus filmed me, what a lovley man. my husband jason is a skydiver in the uk but we go to deland for our holidays, what can we say? we just had to pay our respects to a kind and funny man who helped my husband start his skydive buzz. we wish you ALL our kind thoughts and may god be with you. GOD BLESS. jason and julie chart from london england.

julie and jason

A fitting tribute to a fine man, I am so sorry not to have met him. Please accept my deepest sympathies on his tragic death.

Carrie Morra  

Im a brit skydiver,,who bumped into gus at deland when id just started out ill never forget his words ov advice and his awsome personality. No ego ,just a smile,and a laugh.i was always hoping to jump with him again!....maybe in the next place..........

Ill cherish his signature in my log book..

blue skys
joe edwatrds

Since I first found out about Gus, I was heartbroken. He made an impact on my life, which no one could ever duplicate. While pondering over memories of Gus, I remembered that he was in the middle of making a website for he and his wife, Lydia. So, here I sat for the last hour crying so hard I could barely read the pages. I felt helpless for him, for Lydia, for all of us which whom he had an impact. I enclosed my favorite pictures that Gus took of my very first jump. He gave me courage, and strength to leave that plane the first time. And, encouraged my now burning desire for the sky.

Gus, you made my first experience one of the best memories I could ever have. We crossed paths momentarily, but your memory remains forever. I am at a loss of words. You had an impact that was truly larger then life. You helped coach me and made me trust myself in the sky. And, like most of us, we looked at you with aspiring eyes. Blue skies and free fall to you, my fallen friend. Can't wait to see you on the other side. We are all heartbroken. We will certainly miss you. Leaving the plane will never be the same again. "Congratulations Skydive! We will all see you soon!"

Stephanie Downer

Gus was a mentor, a role model, a guide and a friend. I first met Gus in the late 1980's in Deland, FL. We logged many jumps together, so many memories - too many for words to describe.

My condolences and prayers go out to Lydia, the entire family and all those that were fortunate enough to know him.

Gus, it's hard to believe you're gone. You will be missed but never forgotten. Your spirit lives on in our countless photos, videos and our memories.

Blue Skies.
Steve Ziman

I was in Deland doing my AFF training just before the accident and was one quite a few loads with Gus. Obviously apprehensive and wondering why on Gods earth I wanted to jump out of a perfectly functioning plane, Gus was always there, ready to jump with the tandems, pulling faces and teasing them, making every one including the scared student AFF'ers feel relaxed... knowing his warm face around the dz and on the plane made it all so much easier. Thanks dude, you were one of the cool guys on the dz who made everyone feel welcome, especially the newbies to the sport like me!


Thank you for everything.
See you at the Rainbow one day!

Alexander Patrick Thomson

I have just heard of Gus' sad death today when I was looking on the Skydive DeLand website, I only had the pleasure of meeting Gus on a couple of ocassions but what a great guy he was.  I'm so sorry to hear of your very sad loss and my thoughts are with you all. Best wishes, Sofi x

Sofi Freijeiro-Mato

Blue skies in the sky gus.....
Colombian Air Force

Arturo Cepeda

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