Dr. Chacy Lancaster and Steve Anderson are bringing a new dynamic to the lake scene in Stockton. Beginning early 2019, Missouri River Valley Skydiving plans to open for business, operating out of the Stockton Municipal Airport. The two have been a couple for four years —Chacy is a third-year medical student at UMKC and Steve has been a skydiving expert and instructor for almost 20 years.
The couple have been frequenting Stockton Lake for several years, so when the decision was made to open their own skydiving operation and drop zone, Stockton was their immediate first choice.
“We’ve camped everywhere around here,” Steve said. “When we weren’t skydiving, we were on the water here. We fell in love with the area and when we decided to go into business together, choosing to be here made sense.”
The two inquired with the mayor’s office, received an encouraging response and the project began to take shape almost immediately.
Having over two decades of combined skydiving experience, they both mentioned safety is constantly what customers ask them about most.
“Statistically speaking, skydiving is safer than cycling or skateboarding,” Steve said. “Tandem jumping is the absolute safest form of skydiving and everything we do is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.”
Both are very customer oriented, taking time to point out how thorough they have been in developing a personal approach to customers.
“Sometimes you need to be light-hearted. It calms people and you see them relax,” Chacy said. “It’s the two of us focusing our care on each person before we jump. A smile and a little individual attention really matters. That’s one of the things which sets us apart.”
Incorporating Stockton Lake into the experience they will be offering was important to the two of them as well.
“You’ll actually be over the lake when you exit the plane,” Anderson said. “The entire jump will have an incredible view. We’ll be coming in over Orleans Trail and landing right next to the airfield we take off from.”
Each experience would take about 25 minutes from takeoff to landing, complete with a personal video for customers to take with them. The couple is considering shuttling customers from Orleans Trail campground to the drop zone and back as well.
Currently, MRVS is working with the city council on several different aspects of early business development. Negotiations are underway and have been well received by the city council thus far. Reviewing a proposed business model and construction plans, agreeing on legal language within a potential contract and verifying specific construction guidelines with MoDot are the next few things taking place.
Tentatively, the city of Stockton would be responsible for locating the existing utilities at the proposed building site and leveling an area adjacent to the main entrance to the airport for new construction. MRVS would be responsible for the demolition of the existing structure, all materials and construction for a new field operations base with pilot’s quarters, restrooms, shower facilities and multi-aircraft hangar, which the city would assume ownership of in the years to come.
More frequent use of the airport will help the area benefit as well. Additional takeoffs and landings coupled with increased fuel sales at the Stockton Airport also translates into a potential increase in federal funding via the Airport Improvement Program — a program which provides federal monies for improvements to existing airport facilities and runways when a consistent increase of air traffic and facility use is documented.
Adding another option to what a visit to Stockton Lake could mean for tourists and lake enthusiasts was something the couple highlighted several times. Both want to help stimulate additional economic growth by bringing a new outdoor activity to the area, noting their recreational services are something tourists and local residents of almost all ages could both enjoy.
Chacy and Steve are both licensed skydiving instructors and are optimistic about being part of the business community which makes Stockton an incredibly unique lake town. Upon completion of a mutually-beneficial agreement with the city, the two said they are ready to break ground on facility construction immediately and plan to open their doors for business in March of 2019.