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Lunatic Fringe Into the Void

Lunatic Fringe Into the Void

Author: The Pilot

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Step into the void with The Pilot from Blue Skies Magazine as he talks to some of the worlds premiere extreme air sports athletes to get their take on living life to the fullest, their paths to the “lunatic fringe” and how they fit into the mainstream world while living life on the dark side.
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Lunatic fringe with Death

Lunatic fringe with Death

2021-03-0101:13:53

On this edition of Lunatic Fringe, Omar Alhegelan, Junior Ludvic and I tackle the difficult subject of death, and how we as skydivers deal (or don't deal) with the end.  From denial to humor, we speak about how we and those around us cope with it, and try and speak openly about a subject that most skydivers work really hard to avoid; when we at last shuffle off this mortal coil.
Just another last minute plan is how it started for Flavio Almeida. At the ripe old age of 16 years, he found himself doing not just his first, but second static line jump on his first ever trip to a small Brazilian dropzone near the rainforest, and never imagined then the path he'd just started himself down.  From jumping in his home country, to studying, jumping and working in Canada (which ended in rather spectacular fashion) and then the states and eventually around the world, Flavio found that he could actually manage to make a life for himself doing what he had assumed could only be a part-time sport. As an AFF, tandem instructor, camera flyer and eventually swoop competitor, this multi-lingual well traveled skydiver takes the time to fill us all in on his adventures so far with the Lunatic Fringe.
A Vegas OG, Brian Moler, and in fact pretty much the entire Moler family have either been a part of, or heard every story there is to tell about skydiving in Las Vegas, Nevada. For a city not at all known for skydiving, you'd might just be amazed at just how much has gone down in Sin City, and he is most certainly the man to talk to. From failed contracts put out on a DZO's life (kind of), to warring tribes of Elvi, man eating dust devils and a huge Outlaw failure with the FAA, Brian Moler has more than 30 years of dirt and a whole lot of fun to share on this edition of Lunatic Fringe.
For Tim Jones, the decision to become a skydiver wasn't a difficult one. A half planned road trip from the UK into France and a tandem skydive was about all it took. As sometimes seems to be the case, skydiving and Tim fit together pretty easily, and through a fortuitous friendship formed with Andrew Ford, who he would later find out was "somebody" in skydiving, he found himself working ground control at a very busy multi-aircraft turbine dropzone. With quite a few challenges, but also a number of valuable learning experiences, Tim managed to work and jump his way into the world of camera flying, and then eventually to tandems, finding pleasure not just in the work and the community, but in the potential for travel and experience in the small but extensive world of the Lunatic Fringe. Join in on this episode for an upbeat chat about all things jump.
Back in the can to talk over old times and new, Andrew "Fordy" Ford brings 35 years of airsports experience int to talk about not just the "good Ol' days" of yesteryear, but to talk about the advances of today, and what might be around the corner. Paying homage to some of the greats from back in the day and some the incredible talent of now, Fordy takes some time to chat about his life with the Lunatic Fringe.
Raised with a competitive spirit, but finding herself in constant competition with older BMX riding brothers, Amber Forte knew from a pretty young age not only that she wanted to find her own path, but more importantly that she wanted a life less ordinary. Having made her first skydive on her own at 18 and being just as impressed with the mentality of the jumpers as she was with their profession, it was only natural that more was to come. Finding herself living in the land of the long white cloud and becoming friends with someone new to the sport, she fed off the excitement he had for skydiving and decided to join in. From working tunnels and dropzone's both in Austrailia and New Zealand, to the tunnel in Voss where she would find yet another passion in BASE, she fell in love with the life she had carved out for herself and went full throttle with a long list of goals to achieve. Until she found herself wondering if she'd ever be able to do it again. Join in on this episode as Amber shares her stories of success and failure, injury and recovery on her amazing journey with the Lunatic Fringe.
Born and raised in a part of Norway where sport wasn't just another choice, but a way of life, Espen Fadnes grew up roped up and climbing or skiing almost before he was walking. Being on the rock and in the mountains was beyond second nature, as were all the other terrestrial adventures Norway had to offer. Yet with Espen, from a young age, reaching the tops of the peaks he climbed and either hiking or skiing down soon didn't satisfy, and he found himself dreaming of flying where others walked. In an environment that back then was alien and overwhelming, his beginnings in skydiving were tempered with having to overcome something he hadn't really known before; fear. Now, arguably at the top of his game as a seasoned and highly respected BASE jumper, skydiver and instructor, Espen takes a little time to speak about some great and even no so great choices and adventures on his path with the Lunatic Fringe.
Back in the can with the Fuckin' co-host Junior Ludvic, he's got some good tips and advice on taking care of your gear while it's down for the winter months, keeping or getting current, dealing with injuries and what the future holds, this time around on The Lunatic Fringe.
A Southern California jumper from go, Nathan Smith didn't realize just how good he had it at the world famous (with skydivers that is) dropzone he "grew up" on.  Perris valley was the beginning of a journey that has since led him to multiple world records and more than 20 countries around the globe, not just competing in, but teaching the sport he loves. Holding camps and organizing boogies year round, all while working a full-time job in the real world, Nathan isn't satisfied to leave well enough alone, and in 2021 will be launching an entirely new endeavor with one of the best known and winningest canopy pilots in the history of the sport. Join in on this edition and hear about how it really is possible to find a balance between the real world, and the Lunatic Fringe.
Growing up seeing canopies in the air pretty much his entire life, the idea of going to make a skydive when he turned eighteen seemed like a pretty easy decision. Like more than a few jumpers, it didn't take very long until Timmi spotted the direction he wanted to take his journey in the sport. Seeing what at the time he thought was a fatality in action, but was in reality just another swoop did the trick.  After a fortuitous job offer to go pack nylon in New Zealand, and a few mentors along the way, Timmi once again found himself on the good side of luck when after and impressive swoop with the help of home field advantage caught the eye of event organizers, he found himself doing demo jumps into one of the most impressive arenas skydive has ever seen, the Copenhagen Swoop Freestyle competition in 2015. Join us on this edition of Lunatic Fringe while we chat about nylon, tunnels and the real world with Timmi Thomsen.
From a very young age, extreme for Matt Jaskol was common place.  Starting first on two wheels and then to four, racing simply became a way of life, and one that he chased with true passion. Yet just like life, racing and it's pitfalls left him looking for some type of escape and distraction from the negatives, and skydiving became his very unexpected release. From pushing the limits on a path aimed toward a seat on the pro racing circuit, to skydives around the world, and eventually to a soul searching experience in the jungles of Indonesia, Matt Jaskol has more than enough to put pen to paper, and in this episode takes his time to share just a taste of his path with the Lunatic Fringe.
Fear.  It's the one thing that the best in our sport have had to contend with, but for Luigi Cani it was almost too much.  Having started his skydiving career with static line jumps that terrified him, he couldn't understand why something inside him kept pushing him back into the airplane, regretting it almost every time. Yet it was that same fear that taught him just how valuable and special the path he had found could be, and what has driven him through an amazing 25 years in our sport.  Not satisfied with the ordinary now anymore than he has been at any other point in his career, the soon to be 50 year old icon in our sport is beginning his training toward yet another possible world record on the 34, with a firm grip on his goals deep in the Lunatic Fringe.
Ryan Brownlow.  Second generation skydiver with a passion for the sport instilled in him by a father that went big, he grew up packing parachutes and seeing firsthand his Dad's community of jumpers.  As he came into his own in skydiving, he had the opportunity to surround himself with some of the best in the world in their disciplines, eventually leading him to his; canopy piloting. A member of the now 10 year strong team Alter Ego, he and his wife Jessie, a multiple world record holding badass herself are still both going strong, finding a way to balance the real world and parenting while still holding a solid place among the Lunatic Fringe.
An OG jumper that started his static line course in the early 90's, Mr. Paul Wetzel, aka "Weasle" would go from rocking out of college where he had substantially more motivation for beer and skydiving that his courses, to Army Ranger school where he'd earn his jump wings; From trailer life in Louisiana to tandems in Las Vegas, and from helicopter flight ops in Iraq and Afghanistan to a food truck in North Carolina. Along the way he's made a Japanese man vomit with his ass (And my assist), taken thousands of tandems, hiked the Appalachian trail from end to middle and back and figured out just like a whole lot of us, how lucky he is to be part of the Lunatic Fringe.
USPA in the house!  The Director of Competition and Records sits down to tell me all the in's and out's of life inside the belly of the beast! Adding to the burn is a litany of brutal hot sauces eaten between Steve Hubbard, Junior Ludvic and myself as we talk about everything from world records to the changing of the USPA guard with the addition of the one and only Albert Berchtold as the big boss.  Join us on this informative and entertaining Lunatic Fringe!
He might not be the best known name in the sport, and you've not seen him standing atop a podium after a sick canopy competition, but he's been there none the less.  Julien Peelman wasn't just creative in how he began his time in skydiving or even in how he got his gig with NZ Aerosports, but it's that exact creativity and training that has forever solidified his name and legacy in our sport. Designing wings that not only saves lives, but smash world records, he's put his skills to work on everything from the Petra to the Kraken and everything in-between, and he's helping keep himself and so many more happy and active with the Lunatic Fringe. 
Back for a little more abuse, Olga Namova, professional skydiver, canopy pilot competitor and NZ Aerosports athlete sits down to have an entertaining, yet serious and sobering conversation about injuries in our sport, her rush in days past to get back into the air regardless of the consequences, and the lessons she's learned on staying safer, taking better care, and recognizing the dangers of pushing too hard too quick. Listen in for a little great advice about how to either avoid, or if not, how to get back into the air wisely after an injury with the rest of the Lunatic Fringe.
You don't know them. You've never heard of them. You'll probably never meet them, and almost certainly never jump with them, but I promise you this is a chat you'll love listening to.  Having just done their first tandem skydives the day we recorded, they will take you straight back to the excitement, the fear, the wonder and the sense of accomplishment each of us had after that first experience with rare air, and remind you even if just a little how truly lucky we all are to have this sport and community.  
A climber since he was very young, Ivo Ninov had to learn to overcome his fear of heights in order to follow his passion, and overcome he did. Without any real pretense or ego Ivo will tell you about his countless climbs in Yosemite, setting record after record up some of the most formidable rock on the planet. As member of "The Stone Monkey's", He, Ammon McNeeley, Nicola Martinez and two other world class climbers set their sites on BASE as a means of "transportation" back down the mountain when their climbing day was done; but Ivo will be the first to tell you that skydiving didn't come naturally to him, and was one of the hardest learning experiences of his life. Yet this, just like most every other goal he's set for himself was one that he achieved, going on to mark his path in the BASE world as one of the top athletes of his time. Join us on this episode as we get a look at Ivo's continuing path on the Lunatic Fringe.
Don't let the package fool you.  Michael Washburn, or should I say, Officer Washburn, Retired US Army Ranger may not be large and imposing, but this guy has been there and done that! Coming to civilian skydiving later in life after a military freefall career that left him less than thrilled with the sport, it was a chance meeting with a guy named "Noah" who flew "wing suits" that drove him to chase a new dream.  Years later, as the team captain of "Sky Trash" wing suit team, he's got a humble outlook, but big dreams, and when it comes to chasing them, you can most certainly see the "Ranger"! Join us on this edition of Lunatic Fringe.
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