Monte LaMar and his wife, Leeann, opened Skydive Gypsy Moths at Stearman Field in Benton in September.
LaMar got interested in skydiving in Wichita during the 1980s.
Every Fourth of July, a skydiving team would jump into Cessna Stadium, where the stands were filled with people there for an annual fireworks show.
“I was there and said, ‘Man, that looks like fun,’ ” LaMar said.
So he and about 10 friends drove to Udall to make tandem jumps. He was hooked.
Today, he has made more than 7,000 jumps.
For about 18 years, he served as president of the Boeing employees’ skydiving club and jumped for scores of charity events.
“It was a lot of fun, and they (Boeing) got a lot of attention for it,” LaMar said.
He also has been part of a skydiving group at Cook Field near Derby and Rose Hill.
When his job with Spirit AeroSystems took him to Tulsa, he served as the safety and training adviser for an active drop zone in Skiatook, Okla.
(He serves in that role at the drop zone at Benton as well.)
Wanting to get back to the Wichita area, he and his wife moved back in September, and he took a job as a contract engineer with Bombardier Learjet.
In June, he was caught up in the layoffs there.
LaMar was born in California and spent many of his childhood years in American Samoa and Puerto Rico.
When he and his brother got older, his parents decided to move to Oakley, Kan., his parents’ hometown.
“That was a big change for us,” he said.
After high school, LaMar attended two years of drafting school and was hired by Boeing Wichita in 1985 as a drafter designer.
He’s also taken engineering classes at Wichita State University, Friends University and Butler Community College.
Eventually, he joined Spirit AeroSystems.
He and his wife live at the Benton airport in a condo-hangar.