Throwback Thursday: Shannon Pilcher style

If you have been around the sport for 20 minutes or more, you might have heard of Shannon Pilcher of Flight-1. He’s a bit of a legend, close and personal friend of SkyGod and regularly shares frosty beverages with The Most Interesting Man in the world. To give him tips.

Shannon is a man of many talents with several national and world championships under his weight-belt, across disciplines. But even World Champions come from humble beginnings – behold Team Laminar Flow (Georgia Tech 4-way team).  Team members were Kyle Collins, Ian Bobo, Scott Webb and Shannon Pilcher.

The freefall shot was taken at West Tennessee Skydiving in 1992. Clockwise from top: Shannon, Kyle, Scott and Ian. Note the Teva’s, lack of booties, no helmets and totally rad body positions.

If you’d like to meet Shannon today, check out this great video Performance Designs released about downsizing. Some sage advice in there from a guy who has flown just about every canopy ever made.

Got some Throwback photos you’d like to share?  We’d love to see them!

Security Update

Because Heartbleed, of course. Our site hasn’t been compromised by nefarious villains just yet, but you should change your password anyway. I mean — why not, right?

We also did some spring cleaning with our new site and cleared out old orders and non-customer user accounts. You don’t need an account to do anything here, by the way. But if you do want to track your orders in our shop, you can, by creating an account when you check out.

Please know though, that we DO NOT monitor changed addresses in your online account for magazine delivery. If you move, you MUST change your address by emailing, or writing us a letter, or giving us your new info through the form here: Change My Address.

If you want to know more about heartbleed, here are some good resources:

  • What is Heartbleed, anyway? source: engadget
  • The Heartbleed Bug source: the people who discovered it
  • Explain it like I’m 5: What is Heartbleed and what should I do to protect myself? source: reddit

    Let’s say that you and a friend are passing notes in class. You want those notes to be totally private, so you and your friend come up with a secret code that only the two of you know. Every note you pass is written in code, and even if your teacher grabbed every single one of them, he wouldn’t be able to figure out what they said. That’s a very ELI5 version of encryption.

    But now let’s imagine that every time your friend opens that note in class, your teacher can see a tiny chunk of it – maybe only a few letters or numbers. And let’s say that because your code is so complicated, your friend has another piece of paper on his desk (called the “key”) that he can reference to actually translate from the coded note to plain text. Now, your friend is really stealthy, so he does his absolute best to hide the “key” under his desk so that nobody but him can see it.

    Heartbleed is the equivalent of your teacher having super vision that allows him to see tiny bits of both the notes you pass AND the piece of paper that tells your friend how to translate the message - even though your friend is doing his best to hide everything. Your teacher can only catch the tiniest glimpse of those things, but after enough time, he can piece together big chunks of your notes but also (perhaps) the entire “key” that your friend uses to translate your messages.

    If your teacher writes down everything he sees – both messages and the “key” – for long enough, he can eventually crack the code and read every single note that you have ever passed to your friend using that “key”. It’s important to note that your teacher would REALLY have to put a lot of effort into this in the “real world” of the internet, because you and your friend would be among billions of pairs of kids in class passing notes. But it’s still possible, because your teacher has lots of eyes.

    (In this example, you are you, and your friend is your bank or something – and the note you’re passing contains your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account number, and list of your fears)

SkyLove – can you feel it?

Photo by Ben Johnson

In the wake of accidents, incidents and far, far, FAR too many BSBD’s in the recent weeks, it’s sometimes hard to remember why we do this stuff in the first place, when the costs seem so great. But, then we remember that feeling. The first jump. The love we have for each other and all our sky-brother and sky-sisters. That bond that skydivers around the world share that makes our community so unique and so strong. I can’t explain it, but I can certainly feel it. We will always remember those lost, but I can’t think of a better way to honor their memories than getting all bad-ass in the sky. Fun, challenging jumps that exude pure joy and love for human flight.

Photo by Ben Nelson

8-way multi-level sit-base exit?  CHECK! Photo by Ben Johnson

Many thanks to Jump Junkie Ben Johnson for capturing this awesome shot over Skydive Arizona.  Follow Ben on Twitter or Instagram for more fantastic photos.

BSBD – Plane crash in Finland

BSBDcrop sm

BSBDcrop smEight jumpers lost their lives in a plane crash in Jämijärvi, Finland yesterday (April 20th, 2014). A total of 11 people were onboard. Three people, one of them the pilot, were able to bail out and landed safely under their canopies, suffering minor injuries.

The aircraft, a Comp Air 8, is reported to have run into engine trouble during the climb and then lost altitude rapidly. Investigation to determine the cause is underway.  The plane had been flying jumpers attending an Easter Boogie.

We send our deepest sympathies to friends and families of those lost, and to the skydiving community in Finland as a whole.

News Reports:, (in English), (in Finnish),

Parasport Italia launches new helmet: Z1 SL-14

Z1 SL-14a

The Z1 helmet has been a staple in the skydiving market for a number of years, well known for their no-fuss flip up visor. Parasport Italia has now launched the next generation, the Z1 SL-14, offering up new design on both the shell and visor of the helmet. The major improvements over the old Z1 include a wider face opening allowing for better peripheral vision, a new collar design and new latching system.

Please visit the Parasport Italia Z1 SL product page for more information about the helmet or check out the info sheet:  Product Update Z1 SL-14-1