i80: August 2016

Blue Skies Magazine i80: August 2016 | Kēbē San sky surfs during CarolinaFest 2016 at Skydive Carolina in Chester, South Carolina. Photo by Ben Nelson.

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Cover Photo | Ben Nelson

We didn’t even realize it, but Ben Nelson has indeed scored a hat trick: cover photographer this month, cover subject last month and centerfold subject the month before. Nice work, Ben!

Yes! Just scored a hat trick! Two months ago I was in the centerfold, last month I was on the cover, and this month one…

Posted by Ben Nelson on Friday, August 12, 2016

Featured Photo | Trunk

Amanda Kubik and Chris Derham (via Jeremy Dubansky proxy) flew their wedding gowns.

The FlyBy

Pole Fest | Jeff Holmstock
Reader Question: What would you do with $3,428?
World record ratified: Largest Wingsuit Flying no Grip

Photo Interview: John LeBlanc | Zach Lewis

My first ram-air parachute was one that I put together myself with a very old and un-airworthy ram-air that I took apart and modified according to the instruction of a very old-school rigger. By stroke of fate we got a few things wrong and it turned out really cool as a result. It was a very steep, fast and swoopy parachute for its day because of the mistakes we made. It was nicknamed the Baby Paraplane. It had no slider, stabilizers or cross ports. I added and modified all of that stuff, and it worked out great.

Photo Interview: John LeBlanc | Excerpt

Surviving BASE, Part 3 of 3 | Chris “Douggs” Mcdougall

Example 1: the Troll Spire, Norway. This is one of the best adventure jumps on the planet. We could have gone and jumped this in 2003 but we waited until 2005. In those two years we got our tracking skills up and we kicked some ass. When I finally went there I was able to achieve a 45-second track and had the jump of my life, rather than being shit scared on the edge, wondering if I was going to make it over the ledge and out of the bowl. The experience was so much better for waiting those few years.

Vector Festival 2016 | Christen Johnson

Yep, it was a boogie.

Centerfold | Samantha Farmer

Because BASE jumping is kind of boring without a fire breather.

PD New Beginning

High Jinks, Part XIII | James L. Hayhurst

It was at this point that Julian Nott spoke up, the gist of his remarks being a complaint about the FAI and its petty, bureaucratic rules (and by inference, officials like me who enforced them). I had to smile. In my job, I had been a little dismayed to discover I had become one of Them: one of those irritating rules wonks who, unable to compete and/or lacking the gumption to go after records, instead write rules and enforce them with petty vengeance born of insecurity.

This Side of Sobriety | A Friend of Bill W.

AA meetings and DZs both have a sense of “safe haven.” Neither addiction sees color, religion, financial status or any other division. At either one we are free to go the edge of our lives emotionally and physically and we know we have support; we are free to be ourselves because we know judgment will not be rendered by our compatriots.

Download a copy of this article: This Side of Sobriety

Make People Feel Special | James La Barrie

The epiphany came while sitting in my office trying to answer the question, “If I went to a boogie, what would I love to experience beyond planes and load organizers?”


+Turning Points+ What If? | Kurt Gaebel, NSL

Yet there is confusion in my head now, as the proponents of the 4-way women class say there is a desperate need for it due to the significant difference between male and female 4-way competitors. So logically, all the 4-way women’s event needs is a separate competition draw to make it different enough; then, any female 4-way competitor could compete in 4-way open and in 4-way women at the same FAI/IPC event.

It’s a Small World After All | The Fuckin’ Pilot

I mean, I’ve bumped into previous students at other drop zones who I hadn’t remembered, but this was a whole new experience! It turned out that I had in fact been one of her tandem and then AFF instructors who helped bring her into our world. Such a cool, random and fun meeting I thought, even though I couldn’t actually remember her specifically. I’m sure most instructors will agree how gratifying it can be to run into a previous student, remembered or not, who tells you what a positive impression you made in their lives … But as it happens, the story turned out to be just a bit more in-depth than I knew.

The Grief Club | Melanie Curtis

I think sometimes people who haven’t experienced great loss yet in their lives don’t even know that grief is a thing. A real thing. A process of healing a deep wound. I liken it to having a major physical surgery or injury … how when that happens, no one would even think twice about staying in bed, taking time to rest, recover and heal. When it’s an emotional wound, in a way, it’s the same thing.


Be the hero. Be the dude swooping spectators when wind direction changes because a storm is rolling in. If the wind is showing you the way, who the fuck are you to decide it’s “safer” to do something different?


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