From The Mag

The FlyBy {i102: June 2018}

June 2018 FlyBy page 1
Written by Lara

Online Reprint

Originally printed in issue #102 (June 2018) of Blue Skies Magazine.
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The FlyBy is our monthly round-up of short news, tidbits, cartoons and other random stuff.

Take It DZ | Nadene Beyerbach, Adventure Creative

Skydiving Museum Award and Celebration

The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame™ has announced the Path of Excellence Award program; the inaugural recipient will be awarded at its celebration in Zephyrhills, Florida, Nov. 1-3. The award is intended to honor groups, companies, organizations or teams that have played a prominent role in the growth and development of our sport with their exceptional contribution in the form of innovation, performance, leadership, education, sponsorship, camaraderie and/or philanthropy. Award nominees will be voted on by supporters of the museum including ambassadors, counselors, trustees, members of the Hall of Fame and major donors.

This year’s celebration will feature a 10-way speed STAR WARS competition; a For the Legends Freestyle canopy-piloting meet; Jumpers Over Seventy (JOS) record attempts, a SkyHigh Forum featuring Col. Joe Kittinger (Ret), Art Thompson and Alan Eustace; a canopy-piloting forum with Greg Windmiller; a Pioneers Lunch sponsored by Strong Enterprises and much more. The weekend concludes with the International Skydiving Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This year’s inductees are Ray Cottingham, Daryl Henry, Suzie Joerns, Leslie Irvin, Dom Jalbert, Coy McDonald, Roger Ponce de Leon, Jay Stokes, Tony Uragallo and Henny Wiggers. The fundraiser celebration is expected to raise more than $100,000 for the museum.

More information can be found at

Rigging Innovations Releases MOJO MARD

The new main-assisted reserve deployment (MARD) system by Rigging Innovations is in production now. The MOJO MARD is now standard on the company’s Telesis 4.0 harness-and-container systems and is available as an option on the CURV and CPX systems.

It is also available as a retrofit to all previous CURV, CPX and Telesis 3.0 systems. The retrofit requires no modification to the harness-and-container system; all that is needed are a new reserve freebag with the MOJO release installed and a MOJO RSL. Retrofit parts will be available from RI dealers on or before July 1, 2018.

The factory option and retrofit parts are both $295. Email for more information.

Compass & Crow Corner | By Marissa Barclay

Theme: Koi Fish
Client: Shauna Finley

As we approach the warm summer months, I figured this would be a perfect time to show off this particular helmet. This one belongs to Shauna Finley and it was so much fun to paint! Shauna asked me to turn her helmet into a beautiful illustration of a koi pond with some realistic-looking koi and lotus flowers based off a tattoo she has. I used a combination of airbrush paint and acrylic paint to achieve the various textures and visual effects throughout the piece.

I use several coats of high gloss urethane on each helmet I paint and it always makes the colors pop. However, in the case of this helmet, it added to the “water” effect by making the helmet look more glassy and reflective, like a koi pond might look.

Shauna was a wonderful client to work with and I just finished customizing her second camera helmet! The second helmet is also based off her tattoo and is meant to be a compliment to her first commission. Both helmets were a joy to paint! Keep an eye out for them if you ever venture to Skydive Sussex in New Jersey!

“First off, I adore my camera helmet that Marissa created for me! The design is deeply personal to me. I am heavily tattooed with symbols that are meaningful to me. I wanted to incorporate their symbolism into the helmet design. I sent Marissa picture of my tattoos and other images that were meaningful to me. She did an amazing job blending everything together. The helmet is so ‘me’ in every aspect. It’s as unique as I am. I love when tandem students comment on it and ask about the images. It usually sparks a conversation about their own tattoos and their meanings. I love my helmet and see it as an extension of me and my personality.” —Shauna

I am accepting commissions for 2018 so if you are interested in commissioning a piece of artwork for your own helmet or just interested in seeing other examples of past commissions, please feel free to contact me:,,, or

Letter to the Editor

My name is Nadia and I am a female skydiver based in North Carolina. I have been in the sport of a little over 3 years now and I love to Freefly but my dreams lie in learning how to wing suit soon. I recently read the 100th issue of Blue Skies Magazine at a Sisters in Skydiving (SIS) event at Skydive Sebastian and I am writing today with some concerns I have over what was published.

PD New Beginning

My first concern is with the contents on page 12 titled “100- Some of our favorite stuff.” This page shows over nine photos of women’s breasts with no censoring, over nine photos with women’s cleavage showing, two photos of women’s backsides, and four photos displaying headless fragmented images of the female body. There are also men on this spread one man appears to have fake cleavage, two show men’s backsides, three photos have naked men however their penis’ are censored, 3 photos of men with women showing their cleavage, and one photo shows full frontal male nudity.

My issue with this spread is not the nudity but lack of equality in the nudity. This spread shows an overwhelming greater amount of naked women than men. Additionally the effort was made to censor the viewers from any full frontal male nudity but that same effort was not made towards any photo that showed female nudity. How come the men get stickers placed over their intimate parts but the women do not?

I would also like to address the four images that show the female body, headless and fragmented. These photos were disappointing to see as they remove the part of the body that makes us as women unique, our faces and our brains, thus objectifying these women to this portion of their bodies. By removing their faces we no longer associate these women as people with their own consciousness, right to consent and thought, but as just objects to be gazed upon since there is no face there to associate this body with. Coincidently enough I have recently stumbled upon a study that a group of women have been conducting in Hollywood called “The Headless Woman Project.” This group of women seeks to bring attention to the practice of fragmenting, fetishizing and dehumanizing the images of women seen in film, TV, book covers, and advertisements. Their website is I recommend taking a look at the page as it provides insight in to advertising practices that objectify women that most of the general public is not fully aware of.

Looking through this spread I felt as though I was flipping through a 1970’s gentlemen’s magazine instead of an illustrious publication meant to display the joys and wonders of skydiving, base jumping, speed flying, and adventure sports. The spread was very tone death to the current movements that have been stemming in the nation as a whole, for women’s equality, such as the “Me Too” movement. Which transitions into the next concern I have with this issue of the magazine. The article written on page 34 titled #MeToo.

This article is written by “The F**king Pilot”, Dean Ricci, in which he shares his thoughts and opinions as well as the opinions of a woman he spoke with on the “Me Too” movement, women’s equality in the skydiving, and sexual harassment in the sport. What concerns me most about this article are not his thoughts and opinions, although I do not agree with them, it is the fact that this article is a man speaking of a women’s issue and a women’s movement. This magazine is relevant to the skydiving community and it is fun! It shows people in their ultimate shred, AND IT IS OWNED AND EDITED BY YOU, LARA, AND KOLLA; BOTH OF YOU ARE WOMEN. There are so many eloquent and capable women in the skydiving community that could have used this article as a platform to share their thought and experiences on the matter. By having a women speak on this matter Blue Skies Mag could have provided readers with a more personal voice on the issue, someone who lives this issue every day, first hand. By having a man speak on the “Me Too” movement, this magazine is doing what men have done to women for hundreds of years- spoken for us instead of letting us speak for ourselves.

I find this extremely disheartening as a reader who approached this 100th issue with the greatest amount of excitement and positivity. I also find this extremely disappointing as a woman, who is educated and able to speak for myself. The working woman today lives in a time in which we make 80 cents to the male dollar; yet we ay higher taxes on essentials such as pads and tampons. Despite all odds against us, women are enrolling in higher educated at greater rates than men. Earlier this year, a Latina was the first AMERICAN to win the Boston Marathon in over 30 years and Stacey Abrams became the first Black woman to run for candidacy as governor of Georgia. As explained by “The F**king Pilot,” the raddest women have emerged in all disciplines of skydiving, tunnel flying, wing suiting, canopy piloting. We have proved time and time again that we can THRIVE on our own, SLAY on our own, and SPEAK for ourselves. No need for anyone to “mansplain” gender equality and sexual harassment in the sport so many women know and love. WE CAN DO IT OURSELVES.

I am an optimist and truly believe that the intention was good, I just believe the execution was tone deaf and sub- par. I think that this magazine has the power to put out a much more profound article on the “Me Too” movement. If you need someone to write about this topic, I would happily write it for you and I know a handful of women who would likely answer the call. I write this letter in good faith and I commend the women who run this magazine for having successfully published 100 issues. I would also like to say thank you for the absolutely wonderful stickers gifted to the women who attended the Mermaid Boogie at Skydive Sebastian. If you ever put those stickers up for sale I would definitely buy a dozen more to decorate my gear. I wish you the Bluest of Skies and the Fluffiest of Clouds.

—Nadia Mercado

Response from Editor:
Thanks for writing, we always appreciate feedback. First, I’ll address your concerns about the #MeToo piece by the Fuckin’ Pilot. He writes a monthly column and chose to write that month’s on that topic. I would have preferred to start that conversation with a female voice but I had the choice to shelve it until I got something by a woman or to start the conversation while it was happening in the real world. I chose to print the timely, imperfect piece over the perfect, who-knows-when piece. Thankfully we’ve received responses that are in this issue and hopefully will continue this conversation in future issues.

Regarding the retrospective on page 12 of our 100th issue: There are more naked women than naked men because we receive more submissions of naked women than we do of naked men. Trust me, we print every naked photo we receive. One of the disembodied women in your count requested that her face not be printed; the others were part of an ongoing series called tit4tat, created by a reader whose life had been impacted by breast cancer. The subjects of that series were faceless breasts; every subject was photographed with that knowledge and there was explanatory text with each installment. As for the censored male nudity, that is the prerogative of our printer (although one did sneak through on that page, sorry Shawn). For the record, however, we have little interest in printing uncensored genitalia of any kind.

Your impression of the magazine as a ‘70s gentlemen’s magazine is a tremendous compliment. While we’ve grown away from the Playboy vibe now, it’s almost exactly what we were aiming for when we started. We have never attempted or wanted to be illustrious in any way. All that defensiveness aside, I agree that the retrospective was tone-deaf. We missed the mark by removing the context in which all those photos originally appeared over the last nine years. We have never shied away from titillation but I truly believe we have never been disrespectful or disempowering in that silliness. I don’t know that that single page represented who we’ve been and who we are in the most complete way.

On the other hand, the rest of that issue definitely represented who we are. We had a profile of a woman working in the skydiving industry written by another woman working in the industry, a piece by a woman about the treatment of women in BASE jumping and a book review by a woman that touched on the misogyny of a revered book and historical atmosphere in skydiving and BASE jumping. We have printed a disproportionate ratio of stories by and about women because, as you screamed at me, this magazine is owned and operated by two women. (To all our readers who thought they were just getting smut, sorry but we’ve actually been cramming a subversive feminist agenda down your throats. Hopefully it tasted okay.)

Blue skies,

Best Birthday Present Ever for a 4-Way Fan?

Sandy Grillet’s son Nick arranged for a fanfic-worthy day of 4-way jumping for his 65th birthday, shot by Mark “Trunk” Kirschenbaum.

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