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BIXBY, Robert 1952-1977


Posted By: S. Bell
Date: 6/30/2012 at 02:09:45

[Des Moines Register, Tuesday, October 18, 1977]


NEW HAMPTON, IA. - A veteran skydiver was killed here Sunday when his main parachute failed to open and his auxiliary chute opened only seconds before he hit the ground near the New Hampton airport.

The victim was Robert Bixby, 25, of Hudson, who had jumped more than 600 times in the last seven to eight years.

Witnesses told Chickasaw County authorities that Bixby's auxiliary parachute opened about 100 feet above the ground after his main chute had failed.

Bixby was jumping with five other skydivers. Members of the U. S. Parachute Association in this area often use the New Hampton airport for their jumps because the vicinity is free of obstacles. Chickasaw County Deputy Tom Bernatz said Bixby landed in a farm field just south of the airport. The accident was attributed to malfunction of the parachutes, he said.

Bixby narrowly missed death nearly three years ago during a jump over Waterloo when his main parachute failed to open and his auxiliary chute opened at 300 feet.

In that jump — his 235th, on Jan. 23, 1975 - Bixby said that he "cut away" from the main chute at 2,500 feet after it failed, and then began trying to open the reserve chute.

He said that chute also balked and he had to use both hands to pull on it before it opened at 300 feet. Bixby said that was about the lowest altitude that a chute could open and still be effective.

Although his parachute caught and snapped a utility line as he descended over the east edge of Waterloo, Bixby was uninjured in that jump.

Bixby, a student at the Hawkeye Institute of Technology in Waterloo, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bixby of Hudson. He was single.

Services are pending at Locke Funeral Home in Waterloo.
[Waterloo Courier, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 1977]

Bob Bixby

HUDSON—Services for Bob Bixby, 25, 317 Main St., will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Hudson United Methodist Church. Burial will be in the Hudson Cemetery.

Mr. Bixby was fatally injured Sunday afternoon in a parachute accident in New Hampton.

Friends may call at Locke Funeral Home in Waterloo until noon Wednesday and then at the church until! service time.

[Waterloo Courier, Monday, October 17, 1977]


NEW HAMPTON -The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to investigate the death of a Hudson man who was killed Sunday afternoon while skydiving at the New Hampton Municipal Airport.

Dead is Robert Bixby. 25, a veteran jumper who was killed when his parachute failed to open and an auxiliary chute opened less than 100 feet from the ground.

Bixby was a member of the U.S. Parachute Association, the parent club for parachute jumpers throughout the United Slates. Area members of the club often met in New Hampton to jump because the airport is considered ideal for that purpose as it is in the open with no obstacles to foul parachute lines or injure jumpers.

According to the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Office, Bixby jumped about 2:40 p.m. Sunday, using his own chute. Eyewitnesses to the accident said that his main chute failed to open and his auxiliary chute apparently malfunctioned.

Owner of the plane was Lyle Northrup, another skydiving enthusiast who has hosted many parachuting events at the New Hampton airport. Dave Goodsell. another enthusiast, said Monday morning that Bixby had been jumping seven or eight years and was regarded as a sound parachutist who did not attempt risky jumps. He said the mishap could be blamed entirely on equipment failure.

Height of the plane at the time of the jump was not known as Northrup was out of town and could not be reached.

Bixby died of extensive internal injuries.

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bixby of Hudson. He was unmarried. THE FAA is expected to send a representative to New Hampton sometime this week to question witnesses to the accident. The agency is charged with investigating all parachute mishaps as well as airplane crashes, according to members of the parachute club.

Name: Robert Bixby
Date of Birth: Friday January 11, 1952
Date of Death: October 1977
Est. Age at Death: 25 years, 9 months
Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa

Son of Edward and Elsie L. (Frisch) Bixby
Maternal Grandparents: Arthur and Louisa Seick Frisch
Paternal Grandparents: C. A. and Edith (Moody) Bixby


Black Hawk Obituaries maintained by Kermit Kittleson.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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