i56: The Getaway

i56: August 2014 | Justin Russell and Brandon Chouinard doing a sunset freefly “dance off” during The Revolution Boogie held at Skydive Dallas. Photo by Randy Swallows • randyswallows.com.

This is the 56th issue of Blue Skies Magazine. Wow. It will mail this week, so you probably do not have it yet. Sit tight and bake your mail carrier brownies (the good kind if you’re in Washington or Colorado, the double fudge kind anywhere else) — if you don’t have your August mag by September 1, please email Kolla@blueskiesmag.com so we can get you sorted.

i56: August 2014 | Justin Russell and Brandon Chouinard doing a sunset freefly “dance off” during The Revolution Boogie held at Skydive Dallas. Photo by Randy Swallows • randyswallows.com.

i56: August 2014 | Justin Russell and Brandon Chouinard doing a sunset freefly “dance off” during The Revolution Boogie held at Skydive Dallas. Photo by Randy Swallows • randyswallows.com.

On the cover: “The Getaway” by Douggs, basedreams.com. The story behind this video:

In The FlyBy:

  • Your monthly favs, “Take it DZ” comics by Nadene at Adventure Creative, Reader Question & tit4tat‘s monthly contribution.
  • Routine Exit Turns into Anything But” by Anthony Rocco, a tale of two skydivers who got away with a sketchy tailgate exit, plus Skydive Arizona‘s safety guru Bryan Burke’s insights on the incident.
  • LKXA Extreme Barcelona International Action Sports Cup” by Mike Carpenter, volare-freefly.com.
  • David Winland doesn’t just tattoo cool shit, he golfs and writes about it, too, in “Paragolf!”

Amy Chmelecki tells us how, in “RBAF over NYC,” the Red Bull Air Force got away with this stunt and a half:

Art Shaffer and Christina Arango take you to the beaches of Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in “D-Day + 70.”

This month’s SkyCouple is Frank and Aleth Matrone, interviewed by the awesome Eli Godwin.

Katie Peterson introduces you to Laura Dawson, an artist who creates skydiving-themed glass pieces, in “Perfectly Good Glass.” Laura also has the distinction of being married to Jeff Dawson, our favorite naked skydiver!

James LaBarrie, amazethecustomer.com, writes to the DZ management crowd, but we hope fun jumpers enjoy reading about the mechanics of a winning skydiving business too. This month, “Connect, Inspire … Win” is all about how DZ staff – and even individual fun jumpers – connecting with new customers makes good business sense. So if you like your DZ and want to keep jumping there, you can help them stay in business by connecting with and welcoming the new tandem student customers!

Sydney Owen Williams wants you to “Make a List and Check It Twice” to keep yourself alive amongst idiots in the sky. She says it a lot nicer and more eloquently, of course.

4-way and competition fans, Kurt Gaebel, NSL, has you covered in his Turning Points column. This month, “4-Way History in Jeopardy.” Airspeed going home empty-handed from the Czech Republic? Le gasp!

The Fuckin’ Pilot hands you some “Fuckin’ Tandem Humor” if you’ve run out of jokes to tell your students.

Wax the Booty!” Melanie Curtis Grillet, highcomms.com, started the DZ Dance Off Challenge, aka the greatest thing since sliced dancing.

SkyGod rants.

We hope you like this issue! If you have any feedback, letters to the editor, comments, concerns, news or jokes, email me, lara@blueskiesmag.com, or submit it all online.

Cards Against Humanity, Skydiver Expansion Pack

Blue Skies Mag's expansion pack - black cards - for Cards Against Humanity.

Issue #48 seemed like just yesterday, didn’t it?

I mean, it really could have been just the other day. Time flies when you’re having fun, so there’s really a great reason why I haven’t posted the thing I said I would in that issue. It’s a great reason. I haven’t quite been able to articulate it yet, but I’m sure it’ll come to me.

So in that great and very recent issue, we had a skydiver expansion pack for the game Cards Against Humanity. [If you haven’t played yet, go to www.CardsAgainstHumanity.com and buy a pack ($25) or download it (free!).]

From their own mouths: “Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends. The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers with their funniest White Card.”

Here, in digital format, finally, is the official Blue Skies Mag Skydiver Expansion Pack. Cut out and laminate if you like, and add them to your deck for even more totally wrong fun. There are blank cards to add your own cards, too. Click each image for a printable pdf.

Post your best hands or custom cards here in the comments, or email them to me at lara@blueskiesmag.com!

Blue Skies Mag's expansion pack  - black cards - for Cards Against Humanity.

Blue Skies Mag’s expansion pack – black cards – for Cards Against Humanity.

Cards Against Humanity, Skydiver Expansion Pack - white cards

Cards Against Humanity, Skydiver Expansion Pack – white cards

Reader question: How can you tell a jumper is in it for the long haul?


This month’s reader question (select answers to which will be printed in the August issue of Blue Skies Mag, get it while it’s hot) is for the old-timers:

How can you tell a newbie is in the sport to stay?

We’re not saying it’s bad to be a “tourist,” or someone who jumps for just a few years and goes on to do other things. We just wonder if there are common characteristics, questions, personalities or motivations that might point to a new jumper becoming an old jumper.

Comment here or email your answers to me at lara@blueskiesmag.com, under the name you want printed with your response. We will edit for grammar and/or space only.

i55: The Big One

Blue Skies Magazine i55 sneak peek

Five years ago this month, we sent our first issue off to the printer. Of course, a few months later we sent our third issue off to a different printer, but that’s a (completely awesome) tale for another time.

Anyway, the point is that we have just shipped off something to our printer–another BIG ANNIVERSARY ISSUE!!!

It has NOT mailed yet, so don’t worry if you don’t have it yet! It should be to you by July 1.

Blue Skies Magazine i55 sneak peek

Sneak a little peek at our 5th birthday party!

Yep, it’s more Robert Justin Carmody photo goodness. We bamboozled local jumper Leslie Eggenberger into being your new skydiver-goddess crush. (I haven’t looked up the exact definition of ‘bamboozle’ and am possibly naively assuming it has zero negative connotations.)

But get ready, because i55 is our biggest issue yet!

To start, we obviously have our cover photo with bonus centerfold and pictorial, all featuring the lovely Leslie and shot by the man, Mr. Carmody.

In The FlyBy, your old pals are there: Monthly Latte Art by Jaz Melville, shot by Nik Daniel; Take It DZ comic by Nadene Beyerbach; Ink of the Month; tit4tat, the breast cancer awareness campaign; and Reader Question of the month. Plus, TONS of new gear from Hypoxic, Parachute Labs, Fluid Wings, Elemental, Parasport, Vigil and NZ Aerosports.

Plus, a response from Sane Psychologist to The Fuckin’ Pilot’s last column, “The Devil You Know,” Flight-1′s canopy-flight tip and more news.

Annette O’Neil, that clever ginger, went to the Pearl Island Boogie in Panama, a place she vacationed as a child:

I remember the sound of steel drums coming from the pool bar as I would lie alone on the beach, picking out individual stars, feeling small. Feeling far from the sky.

That was a long time ago, of course. Very soon, the sky is exactly where I’m going.

Zach is back! Back again! Photographer and interviewer Zach Lewis got himself to Austin, Texas, just to bring you more photo interviews of beautiful and talented sky women, all competing at iFly Austin. This month, he doubles up, with a Photo Interview with the Ladies of Arizona Rampage, Paige Milligan and Lisa Mazzetta.

Z: What is something that people would be surprised to learn that you do well?
L: I play the guitar and can sing. That has surprised several people because I seldom break out the guitar anymore.
P: I cheered and danced competitively through middle school and high school. I think people are surprised to know that was something I did well.

VEGAS! Jimmy Pouchert and his wife Marta Empinotti of Apex BASE organize a lot of things, including Hollywood-worthy Vegas blowouts.

Since we announced the event, 5 close friends who should have been there have died. This is a major reason we had this event: We need to make time to spend time together, and not take a single moment for granted.

Ola Sundberg isn’t a jumper of any kind, but he managed to get it together enough to organize a one-of-a-kind BASE jumping event at a Norwegian wind-power farm – AND get it funded. Turbine BASE, we oh so cleverly call it. Now get off your ass and go make that dream jump happen already!

Do you have a crazy idea yourself that you don’t think is possible to realize? Perhaps you should think again, maybe there is a way.

Operation Enduring Warrior helped a wounded-in-combat U.S. Army veteran with no legs earn his USPA A-License with the help of AXIS Flight School. Sound familiar? Just like Todd Love, Joe Grabianowski learned how to fly. It’s Déjà Vu all over again, by Iveta “Murv” Muravyeva.

Skydiving had been one of Joe’s goals before he was wounded in Afghanistan, but solo jumping did not seem feasible due to the severity of his wounds. That changed when Joe learned of Todd’s story and met him on the way to his first tandem jump at Skydive Suffolk.

Last year at this time we were reeling from the deaths of some big names in skydiving. Ken Oka was a California CReW dog who hosted the yearly Oka Cup. Ken died on a CReW jump last Memorial Day, but Oka Cup 2014 went on. Dean “Yobo” Chisholm captured the love.

And so those at the 2014 Oka Cup carried on the tradition of friendly competition that embraces all who would do CReW … A legend lives forever.

Eli Godwin picks another adorable SkyCouple — this month, two star-crossed lovers from the fair city of Sebastian, Anne and Rob Stevenson.

I love it when she works in manifest, because I get to jump with all the cute girls and smaller, less sweaty tandem guests. So my advice is, if you work in manifest, be nice to your favored tandem instructor!

Truman Lake Air Sports is getting off the ground! DZO Blannie Wagner got her a shiny new tow-tech rating in this month’s “Paving the Runway.”

When we pulled up to Justin’s house, I instantly got doe-eyed looking at the fine piece of machinery shining in the sunlight from the back of his truck. Like a girl staring at diamonds, I went all gooey over the hydraulic motor and the thousands of feet of Spectra.

James La Barrie is on a roll, giving absolutely FREE marketing and business advice to drop zone owners and managers. This month, James respectfully invites you to join his Cultural Revolution.

Instructors who just “throw drogues” or “huck meat” have lost sight of what we’re doing and won’t contribute to a positive culture without a change in attitude. We must recognize that all instructors and DZ personnel are part of something far greater—making someone’s day. A day that our guests will never forget. How many occupations get to say that?

Attention n00bs! Sydney Owen Williams was once a n00b (as were we all) and she wants to help you (as some of us don’t seem too keen on doing sometimes). This month, please fasten your seatbelts and “Enjoy the N00b Ride.”

Of course we aren’t going to be rocking block 12 with Airspeed-like precision, accuracy and speed on our first try … I realize this now, but in the heat of the moment after the skydive, I was pretty disappointed with my performance. Why? Because I’ve seen videos of it being done flawlessly, and duh, I want that for myself and for our team. Right now.

Speaking of Airspeed, we are not the only ones celebrating this year — Arizona Airspeed turns 20! Kurt Gaebel, National Skydiving League guru, wishes the boys and girls a happy 20th in Turning Points.

The original lineup was only the beginning of the most successful team project in the history of the sport. Arizona Airspeed has carried on its famous name for 20 years, despite changes of the lineups and many ups and downs.

The Pilot. Oh, the Pilot. There really is no preparing you for what’s coming in his column this month.

“OH MY GOD!! DUDE!! WHAT THE … <gag> Pa-please STOP! FOR THE LOVE OF <gurgle> GOD!!!”

Melanie Curtis Grillet, highcomms.com, is our house life coach and is LIVING THE DREAM. All caps.

But what’s the deal with all those times we get what we want and still find ourselves unhappy?

How can you see into my eyes like open doors, leading you into my core, where I've become so numb without a soul, my spirit sleeping somewhere cold, until you find it there and lead it back home.

“Look into my eyes and you’ll find me. Look into my heart and you’ll find you.”

SkyGod shares his … I don’t know, something.

So that’s it, our glorious, gigantic, grand, gee golly gosh darn 5th anniversary issue! We hope you like it. Next issue up is our #56, August, out first week of August.

Reader Question: +/- Five Years

5-year anniversary photo shoot

We have another two-part question for you readers! Our fifth anniversary issue is coming up (the June/July combined issue, #55*) and we are quite naturally reminiscing about the last half decade — but also looking forward at what the next five years might bring.

So, our question(s) to you is (are):

  1. What has been your greatest accomplishment in the last five years?
  2. What is your biggest goal for the next five years?

*We have enlisted the infamous Robert J. Carmody to take pretty pictures for our anniversary again. Stay tuned … Better yet, subscribe now and you’ll get issue #55 with his soon-to-be masterpieces in them, already printed out for your framing needs. Teaser photo below. What does it all mean???

5-year anniversary photo shoot

How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eyes Aren’t Real