Friday Photo Challenge: Halloween Costumes

A skydiver's Halloween decorations.

It’s Friday, which is the best of all the days to issue challenges. And the f/ph sound, you know, it sounds like a good day to challenge you to dig up and post photos of your best skydive/BASE/paraglide Halloween costumes from years past.

We’ll start with one that doesn’t even follow the rules, because it’s a Halloween decoration, not a costume.

A skydiver's Halloween decorations.

A skydiver’s Halloween decorations.

Okay, go dig out your photos and share!

Do we fly differently?

male and female symbols

I don’t know if this is allowed or cool or against the rules of reddit or the galaxy, but there is a really good question posted over there right now. An anonymous girl wonders if she’s “that guy” at her DZ — the one people worry about because she’s so unsafe and terrible at skydiving.

The question – and resulting great advice – has nothing to do with sex and/or gender, but it’s what I’m still thinking about. From the start, I had a hunch it was posted by a girl. She talks about only doing small tracking jumps because she’s not 100% confident in her skills and doesn’t want to put other people in danger. I know there are exceptions #noteveryman but I don’t hear that concern from male jumpers often.

And landings. Oh, the dreaded female landing problem. I die inside a little every time I think about this. I want to not see the obvious — that it’s usually women who can’t stand up landings when they want to. It’s usually women who dislike, or even fear, canopy flight. It’s usually women who don’t quite “get” landing patterns. There are lots of really good female canopy pilots, not just competitive CPers, but everyday, good, solid pilots. The people who do have problems though? Yeah. Lots of women.

There is no biological reason why women should have more difficulty flying a parachute than men have. None. You can talk to me about iron levels in the nose or depth perception or whatever crap you want but I simply don’t believe men and women have enough physical differences to matter when it comes to flying and landing a modern-day parachute.

Am I right in thinking that, although women make up 15% of the sport, we take up a lot higher percentage of the people who had trouble with canopy flight – or are not confident in our skydiving skills all around?

If you wouldn’t mind, click the button below to take a super quick survey, because I like data. I have a hunch what the results will be like, but maybe I’m wrong. If you don’t want a pop-up survey, it’s also here:

I shall report back with glorious graphs and numbers; in the meantime, what do you think? Do you see more women than men struggle with canopy flight and confidence in general? What can we do about that? Sisters In Skydiving is a great start; are there other programs or tactics you’ve seen work well?

PS: I don’t really know if this is a sex or a gender thing. I use “male” and “female” here in a kind of hazy, generic sex-and-gender way, with no intention to exclude or limit — more because I have no idea where the skydiving-confidence difference comes from.

Have you or someone else you know been that skydiver that other skydivers worry about? … | reddit

i58: Do It Anyway

Blue Skies Magazine October 2014 cover

It’s alive! Our October issue is mailing out now to current subscribers. If you are not a current subscriber, you can change that right here, right now.

Please give it until October 31 for the postal service to get your mag to you. If you still don’t have it by then, let us know by emailing Kolla at and she’ll get you sorted.

Blue Skies Magazine October 2014 cover

i58: October 2014 | James “Macca” Macdonald takes a selfie during UK Parachuting’s Sibson Boogie.

On the Cover

MACCA SELFIE WOAH! James “Macca” Macdonald takes a selfie during UK Parachuting’s Sibson Boogie and Beth Victor (née Athanas) writes about something I’m sure none of us have ever felt before. You know, because we’re all such radical, extreme WOAH risk takers. Or, you’re a normal person like Beth (and me, and Kolla) who is actually quite cautious, despite participating in one of the world’s most dangerous sports.

Featured Photo

Jim Hickey‘s parachute on fire. Really. Photo by Niklas Daniel,

The FlyBy

  • Comic Relief by Nadene Beyerbach, | Dummy holes abound.
  • Monthly tit4tat, | Get ready to say farewell to tit4tat; last entry is December. Unless … they get more contributions …
  • Finish freefliers set Nordic records!
  • Reader question: What’s your biggest fear?
  • 2014 Drop Zone Awards voting! Polls are still open, so get your votes in.


Most Jumps 2014 by Norman Kent, Jay Stokes tried to beat his own record with 700 skydives in 24 hours. Weather didn’t agree, but the attempt was remarkable.

Photo Interview: Hannah Betts by Zach Lewis

Hannah is one of those rare breeds who seems like an even more awesome human being than her looks — and her looks look pretty damned spectacular.

Jumping into Persia by Salman Amiri with Shahram Dabiri

Iran wasn’t exactly on my “I Want To Go To There” list before, but Sal and Shah may just change my mind. Sal and his partner Hadie are working to open the country’s first civilian drop zone and would cordially invite you to visit Persia.

Mustache BASE 2014 by Mara Schmid,

The funnest looking BASE boogie we’ll ever be totally unqualified to join.

Douggs’ Logbook

A peek into the actual BASE logbook of the legend Douggs,


It’s not a conspiracy that we print so many of Norman Kent’s photos or anything, he just makes it so freaking easy with so many amazing photos from so many places. Caroline E. Layne’s first helicopter is frozen in time this month.

Skydive Balaton & Tora Tora Helicamp 2014 by Max Heidenfelder

Hungary was already on my “I Want To Go To There” list and Max’s honest DZ review moved it up a notch or two.

Make: Custom-Molded Sugru Earbuds by Tiago “Quase” Seiler

I love Sugru and have been searching for someone to do an Instructable-type something with the stuff. Quase originally posted this on reddit and I pounced, bringing it to print for your page-tearing-out-as-reference pleasure

Personal Responsibility by Terry Wahlen

Not as exciting a term as some others, but probably the most important one. You can’t look sexy in a coffin.

How to Not Hate Skydiving by James La Barrie,

DZOs and anyone who works at a drop zone: READ THIS. Or, get burnt out and hate the most glorious sport in the world. Your choice.

And the Sky Is Still There by Sydney Owen

Sydney’s latest “From the Other Side: Tales of a Former N00b” is all about priorities. The sky is rad; even radder because it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

World Meet Hiccups by Kurt Gaebel, National Skydiving League

Some constructive criticism from an impartial observer of the latest World Meet. Thank Kurt for saying what needs to be said!

Turbine-Erotic Asphyxiation by the Fuckin’ Pilot

Pilot, I know you know where the term “pillow biter” comes from.

Back in the Day by Melanie Curtis,

Ah, back in the day, when we didn’t care how un-matchy our jumpsuits were or how we ranked in the world. Melanie goes there for Nationals.


SkyGod answers some questions, and some non-question questions.

Reader question: What are you most thankful for?


Yes, this is for the November issue. Hard to believe, but in just about 6 weeks, Americans will gather around a dead bird and be thankful. So let’s get an early start, shall we?

What are you most thankful for this year?

Let’s keep it air-sports-related-ish if we can, but no one’s getting ostracized if what you’re thankful for has nothing to do with flying.

Select responses will be printed in the November 2014 issue of Blue Skies Mag. Comment here or email; sign your comment or email with the name you want published in the mag. Responses may be edited for spelling, grammar or space.

Have you JUI?

Like most of you guys, I got my copy of Parachutist yesterday and went pretty straight to the incident reports. I still can’t really believe what I’m reading.

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, toxicology reports on both (unrelated) fatalities in October’s incident reports indicated recent marijuana use — i.e., within hours of jumping — that most likely contributed to their deaths.

I’m naïve about drugs. Not that I have never or will never done them — and I don’t much care what other people do or don’t do — but it never occurs to me that people jump drunk or high or anything. I guess I think of drugs and booze squarely in the weather-hold or done-jumping time slots. So I’m curious — have you jumped under the influence?

This poll is completely anonymous, and you can leave anonymous comments as well.

Have you ever jumped under the influence?

I’m not condemning these jumpers and I don’t want to start any hate campaigns. We’re all grown ass adults making our own decisions, and these guys certainly fall under at least the age requirement for that.

Anyone else in as much shock as me, or am I the only stupidly ignorant one out there?