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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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A Kiwi born and raised, Antz Hansen had been around aviation from a very young age, so when the daydream of making a skydive finally presented itself, the outcome wasn't quite as he'd expected.  As it turned out, round parachutes weren't his thing...  But then, after he'd already established himself as a professional photographer, the chance to try the new "Square" design presented itself, and boom! Working behind the lens his entire adult life, specifically as an "extreme" photographer, Antz has gone out of his way to put himself into some seriously sketchy situations, and is happily not only still here, but happily is sitting down to tell us about his path with the Lunatic Fringe.
From round parachutes to squares. Riding atop busses fueled with beer and coke and dodging power lines. Lodi O.G. jumper. World record big ways. Subterranean BASE in Mexico. Burning Man. Waterfall wingsuiting...  There isn't a whole lot in air sports that Splash Robinson hasn't experienced firsthand! One of the original crew out of Lodi and on to Skydance in Davis, Splash has been going big ever since he wrapped his fathers car around a telephone pole (not how you would imagine). He's been there, done that and was probably the guy who designed the t-shirt. This is the guy that helped put the Lunatic into Lunatic Fringe, and its an episode you're not gonna want to miss! 
Raised in a family of Aviation enthusiasts, pilots and veterans, Jan Kruger had thought the career of a pilot might be the right path for him, but his family aimed him in a slightly different direction.  Taking on the challenge of becoming and A&P, or Mechanic, or Engineer, or as Jan puts it, somebody that fixes airplanes he found his niche, and ended up working with one of the premier companies that helps keep Twin Otters in the air and doing their thing. With skydiving a dream that had always been on the back burner, it jumped to the forefront as soon as he started spinning wrenches for a skydiving operation which has led him happily and inevitably down a path straight toward the Lunatic Fringe.  Join us on this wine filled and aviation enthusiast based episode!
Living mirrored lives on different sides of the planet, Louise Kristensen and Shannon Seyb had a passion and drive for most all the same things. From Horseback riding and yoga, to tunnel flying and a love of the sky and our community, forming a team to spread the love and a positive vibes was the only natural thing to do. Biding their time until they can train for dynamic two way tunnel comps and get back in the air, Louise and Shannon take the time to tell me how they got their starts in the sport, and how they've spent their "down" time lately keeping it interesting here in the Lunatic Fringe.
Just about as all around positive as they come. Professional Skydiver, writer, life coach, "Ball of Light"...  I had to ask, just how does Melanie Curtis manage to stay so positive and upbeat all the time? The answers may not surprise, but they will most certainly inform. As a member of a new skydiving demo team designed to raise awareness and highlight women in our sport, she's all about making positive change! We go pretty deep on this one to be sure, so...  For those that are looking for just light hearted and want to avoid some of the topics of the day, well, this may be a bit more in depth than you're expecting, but I got the chance to really talk straight with Melanie about the world we're living in, the sport we love, and all the reasons why for good or bad, we love the Lunatic Fringe.
So yeah... A charmed if not short career in skydiving is exactly what Mandy Curry had. Stumbling into amazing situations and lucking her way into rubbing elbows with skydiving royalty, she can't help but look back at her time in the sport with rose colored glasses! A mother of two on a vastly different trajectory, Mandy takes the time to sit and reminisce with me about trips to Eloy, landing on glaciers, guns and death threats in Mexico and dollar bills at the strip club cause she met me while I was sans pants in a thong looking for a "champagne room" customer, she's most certainly got a few stories to tell! Wait, this one might not have been the best idea! Please join me on this episode of Lunatic Fringe with one of my dearest friends (who knows way too fucking much about me), Mandy Curry.  
Proper scared. Kaz Sheekey started out like I imagine a fair amount of us do in skydiving, but for her, just like most of us who decide to make a life out of it, that fear she felt on jump one became a positive driving force, not a deterrent. Immediately attracted to the lifestyle as well as her love of jumping, all it took was a "vacation" to the US to drive her into a 25 plus year love affair not just with skydiving, but with canopy piloting.  A kick ass competitor, Flight One instructor and demo team member to boot, as well as balancing life as a mom in these trying times, Kaz Sheekey takes a bit of her time to share with us her journey into the Lunatic Fringe.
Meat Hauler. Not what most people dream of when they think of a career in skydiving. It's not glamorous and it ain't sexy... As a matter of fact, unless you're a first time tandem student, the tandem instructors tend to be the most overlooked of us, but the truth of the matter is, it's an incredible way to spend your time in the air. Rich LaBarr will be the first to tell you that tandem instructors are seriously un-sung heroes in our sport and deserve their time in the spotlight, and I am 100% in agreement. Starting late in the game (late as in he took his time becoming a working skydiver, not cause he's old and grey) Rich and his wife became fully immersed in our sport, and haven't looked back. Join in as we talk about the joys of strapping other people to you and doing dangerous things!
Started jumping while in college, Check.  Coach rating, Check.  Tandem Instructor, Check.  US Navy F-18 Hornet Pilot...  Big Fuckin' Check!  Joey Marco started both his career in aviation and his career in skydiving around the same time, and has somehow managed to keep his passion for both!  As a new F-18 pilot, Joey gets inundated with "Fan Boy" pilot questions all over the place that I've wanted to ask for years, and we even manage to talk about skydiving!  Join in on another "quarantine" edition of Lunatic Fringe
Hard work and perseverance paid off.  Signed to run and compete for not just one of the best track teams around but precisely who she wanted, Rachel Belmont was headed to college on exactly the trajectory she had planned; then, as seems to happen too damn much, her future was changed by a random injury that left her wondering what came next. Too strong to back down, she was able to push past not only the physical, but the mental as well to become not just an accomplished runner, but an ultra-marathoner.  Training now as a nurse and wanting a way to give back during these crazy times, she wanted to find a way to combine the two worlds she's fallen in love with, and has put running and skydiving together to help those in need. tune in to listen to exactly what she's gone through, what she's got planned, and how you can help on this edition of Lunatic Fringe into the Void.
You want to know what it takes to become world champions? Curious about how to develop the kind of moves that not only haven't been seen before, but not even imagined? Wonder how in the hell anyone could survive 10 years of hardcore training, competition, travel and pressure AND do it all as a couple? And of course, find out who in the hell is behind those awesome jumpsuits? Well look no further! On this episode of Lunatic Fringe, Team Airwax members Greg Crozier and Karine Joly take the time to sit down and tell me the in's and outs of their wonderful journey to the top of the podium, smack in the middle of the Lunatic Fringe.
Like a large number of people, Beverly Cosslett's first experience with skydiving came about with a "Sure, why not"; unlike most that more "agree" than "Decide" to skydive, she managed to get herself quickly hooked! Working her way into South Africa's skydiving scene and beyond, she started at a time when the rule breakers and bad boys (and girls) ruled the sport, and stuck with it through its transition into a more, shall we say, adult sport. In a mix between agreeing and being dragging, she has gone on to work the last 7 years as Skydive Johannesburg's Chief Instructor, remembering the old days while guiding the new, all while balancing a career in the real world. Join in on this edition of Lunatic Fringe and enjoy!
Intimidated by the sport. In his own words "lacking natural talent"...  Words that only Ernesto Gainza would use to describe himself because nobody I know would use anything other than "Calculated" or "Driven". Maybe "Forward Thinking" or even "Fucking Crazy" (that was me...).  Currently holding the record for the smallest canopy every landed, the man has taken on challenges that very few ever would, and he's done them with success and professionalism to say the least. Join me as I get the wonderful opportunity to catch up with my friend Ernesto, and find out how he ended up with all of us deep in The Lunatic Fringe.
Hannah Parker PHD.  Fuck skydivers are amazing at themes (life changing course corrections), and this is one of my favorite ones by far!  Well on her way to becoming a full blown Doctor and researcher (did I mention the fuckin’ PHD?), Hannah and her friend decided to make a skydive to jazz things up a bit, at jazz it up it certainly did! Managing to finish off that PHD while fucking around at the dropzone, she gave her family the impression that she just needed some "down time" after all the hard work,  which is why she was pissing off to Portugal to go skydiving... Seven years later, she's still on that vacation from her original path! Join us for a fun look into the life and style of a hard working skydiver on this episode of Lunatic Fringe!
Wow is all I have to say! First off, Julio Ruiz, the owner and operator of Liquid Sky is doing his part. Having thought not just about his families well being in these crazy times, but of his employees and those around him, he decided to put his design skills to work to put out masks to help stem the forward push of the Coronavirus. Secondly, he tells me about his beginnings in our sport, life in Puerto Rico, what it was like to have his arm shoulder deep in a cow's ass, and if its easier to shoe a horse than outfit a skydiver! This one you've gotta hear!  
On this "Special Report" edition of Lunatic Fringe, I have a whole bunch of recent guests back to take on the YouTube Channel sensation "Hot Ones" challenge as we eat crazy hot wings while discussing great ways to deal with the "social distancing" we need to be observing while the world tries to get over Coronavirus.  Join us, and if you've got the balls, try the challenge yourself, get those video cameras rolling, grab the insane HOT SAUCES pictured and try the #thefuckinpilotchallenge right along with us!  Stay safe, wash your hands, entertain yourself at home for a while (with whatever works for you!) and DON'T masturbate right after the hot sauce! (or do...)
Back in the can to talk about her summer competition season, Olga Namova takes her time to fill us in on pushing canopy limits, traveling for her passion and life outside of skydiving.  Take the time to enjoy a great bonfire chat with Olga, and make sure to check out the amazing photos we talk about on her Instagram at sky_umka today!
An Oakland born and bred, Marilyn Manson listening nerd, Marquis Noble headed off to the US Airforce and into a long career as an aircraft mechanic and ordinance man, but ended up finding his real passion creeping up on him over time after making a tandem skydive in Utah. A hardcore fun jumper at heart, Marquis has exactly the kind of personality and attitude that makes this sport the greatest one I've ever known. Light hearted, fun loving and not afraid of new (or old things), he is exactly the kind of skydiver that makes us want to keep jumping, keep playing, and keep holding on firmly to our wonderful community.
As one of the very first people I met in the sport, one of my first co-workers and especially as my first and only competition team member, Mary Tortomasi and I shared many of the same memories, experiences and losses and we started our way down the skydiving path; and even though we ended up going in very different directions, we've both managed long and "blessed" careers.  From her first job as an instructor at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving in Las Vegas, to skysurfer, AFF and Tunnel instructor, Perris Valley tunnel manager, multiple world record holder and big way skydiver, Mary Tortomasi has run the gambit. Lots of reminiscing, a few forgotten stories and some really cool insights, this is a very enjoyable and funny walk down memory lane on this edition of Lunatic Fringe.
Another converted member of the masses, Omar Alhegelan went from just another bean counter to one of modern skydivings most influential figures.  Filled with the feeling that this is what he was meant to do, Omar didn't think twice about walking away from the real world with all its rules and regulations and jump head first (Actually head up and feet first) into the wonderful world of skydiving.  World champion, world traveler and one of the pioneers of modern freeflying, join us on this episode of Lunatic Fringe to get his take on the "zen" of airtime.
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