Bobby Henline – Accelerated Freefall Training


Bobby Henline has always held a love of the skies and dreamt of flying.  During a tour in Iraq in April 2007, Bobby was the sole survivor of a roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 4 of his fellow servicemen. His own injuries were immense. Nearly 40% of his body was burned in the blast and he lost his left hand. With that, the dream of flight was put on hold – but never abandoned.

In his remarkable journey since, Bobby has gone through a multitude of surgeries, become a stand-up comedian (apparently quite hilarious, catch a show if you can!) and most recently took to the skies to complete his AFF, with the help of Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, Arizona.

The full story can be found the AXIS Flight School Blog. Time has also released an incredible documentary about his journey: Healing Bobby.
If you’d like to keep up with Bobby, go ahead and give him a skydiver style high-five Facebook.

See you in the sky, Bobby!

Compass & Crow Studios “Art in the Sky” Contest

Compass and Crow Studios is a skydiver-owned business that specializes in custom helmet artwork. Each one is created specifically for the client, is one of a kind and cannot be duplicated. Services include:

  • Hand-painted imagery, lettering and pin striping using professional-grade acrylic and enamel paint
  • Airbrushing using House of Kolor products. (“Real Flame,” lace, and other patterns also available)
  • Perforated vinyl: cut to fit any visor, perforated vinyl helps me take helmet artwork to the next level by incorporating the visor into the design. (B License minimum required to use this product)

Owner Marissa Barclay began with painting her favorite animal (a crow – you guessed it!) on her own plain black helmet to distinguish it from other plain black helmets kicking around the DZ. Before long, friends started to come to her to ask for personalization of their own lids, and little by little, Compass and Crow Studios were born. Today Marissa operates out of Skydive City in Zephyrhills, Florida, but frequently visits other drop zones throughout the country.


If you are in the mood for a custom design for your helmet, we are giving away a certificate for 15% off on the Blue Skies Mag Facebook page. All you have to do is like or comment on the Facebook post to be entered. We will draw a lucky winner at noon on Thursday, September 17, and announce it on Facebook and with an update to this post. The winner then has 24 hrs to contact us – if we don’t hear anything back, we pick another one on Friday.


Follow Compass and Crow Studios on Facebook.

InstaMon: Our favorite InstaSkyGram

Mondays. The show up with an alarming regularity and almost always when you REALLY REALLY REALLY wish you were out skydiving/paragliding/BASE jumping/Speed flying – or just sleeping in, recovering after the fun had for the past 48 hrs or so.

The fact remains that most of us do have to show up for work in one form or another to earn that pesky paycheck, to be able to cash it in for fun the following weekend. To help with the withdrawals, we are going to launch a little Monday morning feature called InstaMon – where we grab a favorite photo from either our own Instagram account or snag another favorite to share.

The snapper behind the Blue Skies Mag Instagram account is DeLand jumper Faith McKeen – and she does an amazing job capturing dropzone life, both in the air and on the ground for us. Follow us on Instagram (@blueskiesmag) to keep up with the glory, fun and occasional silliness. And of course the Florida clouds – the absolute only reason to ever brace the heat and humidity here in the summer is so you can go jump with those clouds. Thank you Faith!


Faith McKeen

If you’d like to offer up your moment of glory for an InstaMon post, use hashtags #BlueSkiesMag AND #InstaMon to offer up your entry and please SkyGod. If you must, you can also add #SkyGodRules, for bonus points, which may or may not help you get noticed. SkyGod makes no promises, but certainly does not shy away from fame or glory whenever available.


Spirit Animal: Soaring in the Kingdom of Imagination

Spirit Animal is not your average high-five, smack, slap, hip-check type of skydiving movie. The movie features absolutely stunning flying, but there is also an ethereal, otherworldly feel to it. The music is absolutely fantastic and along with the artistic editing, lends it that special feel. Headphones (or a good sound system) highly recommended!

Matt Gerdes of Squirrel was one of the participants:

It was a fun project. We came together to fly with one another. That’s about it. Flying fast with friends is really a beautiful thing and of course images just sprout from that naturally. People keep asking what it means, and to me this quote sums it up: “Do not let your mind rule over imaginary kingdoms of endless possibilities.” We spend so much time these days absorbed in the fictitious narratives of other people’s lives, consciously and unconsciously comparing our opinion of ourselves with everyone else’s opinion of themselves.

We split into tribes and factions based on nothing real, often doing the bidding of people we don’t know and aren’t cared for by. We are tempted and coerced by advertising and tribal recruiting which promise us paradisiacal results if we join a certain tribe, and, once joining, people are threatened by trolls who enforce the (again, fictitious) tribal dogma. Through it all, some people lose sight of why it might be worth risking everything to do what is most fulfilling. At times it appears that some care more about the fictitious online adulation than they care about the actual flying. People want to say they have flown through the air, more than they want to fly through the air. Those flying seconds are too rare, and too much fiction occupies the in-between time. The more you fly, the less the fiction matters.