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Eldon R. Down ( Pilot )

posted: Feb 6, 2005

Eldon passed away December 5, 2204 in Boise, Idaho. He served in the US Army in Italy during WWII and returned to Oregon after the war where he operated Blue Mtn. Air Service in LaGrande. In the late 50s he converted two B-25s and two B-26s into Borate planes and leased them to the Forest Service. Eldon was instrumental in developing the belly dump for the B-25s and also dropped smokejumpers while at LaGrande. One year the jumpers talked Eldon into making a jump, which he did, much to his wife’s dismay. He went to work for the USFS in 1964 and worked with the Fire Lab in Missoula flying the Convair 440 in a scanner development program. Eldon went to Smokejumper operations in 1968 flying from Boise, Idaho City and McCall where he flew jumpers and lead plane until retirement in 1982.