Sports

The Freakin‘ Pilot originally from Blue Skies Magazine talks to some of the worlds premiere as well as unknown 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.

Episodes

From packing weight to competitor to helping pioneer ideas behind sustainable skydiving operations, Mr. Pete Alllum's career has spanned his entire life. As the child of two active jumpers, the drop zone lifestyle wasn't something Pete adjusted to, it was his entire world; yet regardless of how many years he has been in sport, his desire and addiction for our activities and lifestyle remains just as strong now as it was when he first began at 15 years old. An instructor, competitor, coach, and hard-working member of the Flight-1 team, he keeps hard-charging, helping to guide jumpers from their first jump all the way through Mutant harness training and beyond. Join us in this great and informative chat with an OG skydive historian and kid at heart, still deeply in love with the Lunatic Fringe.

 

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Scotland is very well known for quite a few different things. Scottish whisky, the Scottish highlands, bagpipes, haggis, the Loch Ness Monster and of course Sean Connery; one thing it is most certainly not known for… Skydiving. So when you are a kid named Ewan Cowie and you're dreaming of all the different things your parents will try and keep you from doing, skydiving probably isn't on the list. Isn't, that is, until you hit University and see it firsthand. From majoring in geology to avoid the office life, to a life spent traveling around the globe jumping over some of the most iconic places on the planet, Ewan Cowie has had quite a varied path. From demo jumps onto the same field where he was once a spectator, to flying over the pyramids, this is one camera flyer who is completely focused on the long game deep within the Lunatic Fringe. 

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Back in the can for round 2, Mr. Albert Berchtold has made a few changes in life since last we spoke with him. Now the head honcho and officially the Executive Director of the United States Parachute Association, Albert has a prime seat for helping to shape the sport that we all know and love. Working hard to represent each and everyone of its members and its Board of Directors, he envisions a number of positive changes heading our way both within the ranks of the USPA and within our sport as a whole, while looking back on his extensive career and lifelong path with the Lunatic Fringe, and drawing from the wealth of knowledge he's accumulated. Don't miss this entertaining and informative episode. 

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In this, his first ever opportunity to take over the hot seat, Ray Kubiak sits down to chat about all things air, whether it be tunnel flying, skydiving, or the world of aviation as seen through an airline pilot eyes with the one and only Rusty Lewis.  To say that Rusty Lewis has a few irons in the fire is a dramatic understatement. Professional airline pilot, S&TA for the International Bodyflight Association, skydiving instructor and sit suit advocate, Rusty has been going strong in both the old-school and the new for quite some time. With his retirement plan already mapped out, there is no doubt that Rusty intends to make the most of his time living with the Lunatic Fringe. 

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Cody McMains may not have known he was destined for an "extreme" lifestyle, but apparently he mother did.  Having followed the L.A. dream with a fair amount of success, but without the happiness that he expected to come with it, a well timed chance comment by a close friend set him on a completely different path.  Finding himself in the strangest of living situations in one of the least known areas of the state, the sky and the tunnel soon took over, leading him not only to find his love of the sport, but of teaching others about his passion. Now tossing drogues, instructing and aiming toward competing, Cody McMains has without a doubt purchased his lifetime membership in the Lunatic Fringe. 

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One year almost to the day of the release of not only one of my personal favorite episodes, but of the most popular, it is also soon to be the one year anniversary of the passing of the one and only, Moe Viletto. He's the skydiving icon that most of the younger jumpers will have never heard of, even though there's little doubt they've seen him in action. For as sad as we are that we don't have Moe around anymore to tell those incredible and sometimes unbelievable stories, we are all lucky that he was here to tell them the first time around.  As a tribute to one of the most unique souls ever to touch nylon, please enjoy this re-release of his wonderful episode on Lunatic Fringe. Thanks Moe!  

With one of the most unique stories of how skydiving entered his life, Moe Viletto had just survived an impromptu zero gravity aerobatic flight by the skin of his teeth when he and his pilot buddy spotted canopies off in the distance. Knowing the instant he landed from his first jump that this was what life had been aiming him toward, he embarked on what this year would have been five decades of skydiving, rigging and BASE jumping. Living life on his terms as a rigging gypsy king, scoring a bit of luck here and there and having an incredible time, he did it all without any real plan. From drougeless tandems and AFF before it was a thing, to living in a VW Beetle while trying to find a home for his sewing machines, to BASE jumping with a tent and then on to Hollywood, Moe Viletto and I only scratch the surface of his fifty years of Lunatic Fringe adventures. From his antics to his rigging, Moe Viletto was a trailblazer in every sense of the word and we aren't likely to ever find another quite like him. On what was suppose to be the first of many installments of "Story Time With Moe", he shared with us just a little of what made him such an incredibly loved icon in our sport.  Recorded not much before his passing, I feel nothing but lucky I had the chance to meet the man behind the Lunatic Fringe legend.

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Back before the hanger. Back before the smiley face that greeted every jumper and spectator. Back before The Tiki Bar, the swoop pond, the back deck or the Maxi Pad in the ghetto, there was a little dropzone in the middle of nowhere New Jersey called CrossKeys started by a guy named John. As far as CK people go, Bert Navarrete and just a handful of others are about as OG as you can get. Having been there for everything from Johny 9-Lives street skiing up the runway dragged behind a car, to the "Peanut Butter" incident, to the "unofficial" world record tandem day, to Monkey Claw Freefly antics and literally countless other wonderfully crazy, exciting, over the top and sometimes tragic events, Bert was either deep in the mix, or at least witness to it all. Taking time away from his "real life" in finance, he sits down in the studio to share just a small handful of the stories that epitomize exactly why we are the Lunatic Fringe, and why he is truly a lifelong member.

There also happens to be In attendance a bit of a mystery man who refuses to acknowledge the microphone will not .speak, and demands to remain Anonymous. We’ve dubbed him The Quiet Guy” during the podcast, 

We have decided the first five people that can correctly identify this mystery man who will not speak gets a free signed copy of the new Lunatic Fringe Book sent straight to their home!  So after listening to the podcast if you think you know who quiet guy is, just send us your guess to the Lunatic Fringe Podcast page on Facebook. And score a really fun read!

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For Monica it was pretty easy to get started. For Alejandro, not so much. As the Niece of one of the few intrepid skydivers in Mexico at the time, Monica watched her uncle Tony jump throughout her entire childhood, so when given the opportunity to take that first leap, she didn't hesitate. For Alejandro it was quite a bit different. Not knowing how, but knowing he wanted to fly, he spent his childhood trying to come up with his own ways to do it, until the first time he saw someone skydiving. Both young, both entranced by the world of skydiving, and eventually both working at the same drop zone run by Monica's uncle, that's how these two met and started an incredible life together. Now, tens of thousands of jumps behind them with all the ratings and having traveled around the world, both Monica and Alejandro have more than a few stories, bumps and bruises to show for it. Join us for an entertaining rundown of their time with the Lunatic Fringe.

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Growing up watching his mom huck herself out of airplanes in California, not only making over a thousand jumps on rounds, but earning herself a California State Championship, there was simply no way that Billy Sharman wasn't going to at least try one jump.  Of course, as seems to be the case, with a first wonderful experience at Skydance in Davis, CA and a little salesmanship from Ray Ferrell, Billy was well and truly hooked!  A few bumps in the road (or ditch) aside, he was well on his way to what would become a lifelong career in the sky, and the windy tubes.  Now, the proud owner and operator of Skydive Pretoria in South Africa, Billy has many years under his belt, and twice as many stories to tell about his travels with the Lunatic Fringe.

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Simply Badass. there really isn't any other way to put it.  Starting her skydiving career as a twenty-something in 1968 Kansas, at the insistence of her friend, Alice Hicks and a few intrepid friends spent a day jumping off picnic benches to perfect their PLF techniques, and then just went and did it.  With a bit of a reputation as a "sidespinner", Alice didn't have the chance to jump with too many others during those early times, until on her last jump back in the day, her then boyfriend (now husband of 52 years) dove hand in hand with her to finish off her first life in the sport. Cut to 1996.  A life-long career as a school teacher and guidance counselor in the books, the same Alice Hicks decides after watching her daughters make tandem skydives onto their own property in Kansas that she should give this new version of jumping a whirl, and BAM! Back in the sport she was. She fought her fears and pushed through to find the "fun" that skydiving had to offer, already knowing it had an amazing community, of whom her husband was still an active member. Now retired, and traveling the country, spending months on end jumping pretty much every weekend in Eloy, Alice Hicks, and her Skydiving, Pilot badass husband are officially lifelong members of the Lunatic Fringe. This is one of the most pleasant and enjoyable chats ever had on the podcast, and one you won't want to miss.

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