Posted on January 6th, 1996


Why Blue Skies ? 

Why do we sign off with "Blue Skies", how did this get started & what is the intended interpretation?:

When sequential RW (now formation skydiving) was just getting started in the mid 1970s, it started in ST, AZ, CA, TX, KS, IL western USA. Jumpsuits were small. Most skydivers wore boots. Belly reserves and ripcords were the norm. 

Of course, good, intelligent, cool skydivers never got caught dead. We believed that, until Jim Heydorn bounced with a double total. Poof, the myth of the right stuff vanished. If Heydorn could bounce, ANYBODY can bounce! Thus, the brighter pioneer sequential types began to notice that the quality/quantity of people getting killed by impact appeared random... good skydivers and bad skydivers, both bounced about as high. We noticed that it was not that He screwed up, but rather that fate is the hunter and there is a real element of chance in skydiving. 

We learned that the bright blue friendly sky was balanced, yin/yang style, by a dark foreboding ground. Since the ground snuffed the life, it was/is death. Unsafe practices, as a group were termed black death. The exit count used by my 8-way teams and several others was Blue sky/ Black Death. Sport parachuting became Sport Death. While the Black Death thing was an insider thing which translated to ‘Hey yall, lets avoid danger up there.’ It later got adopted and/or banned by folks who did not and do not understand what it means. 

o just as "Goodbye" means "God be with you", 

"Blue sky / black death" is a salute to the sky / earth that means: 

"Lovely Up There / Watch Out"

Pat Works , 1996