Mike Bohn | D-28398
By Brian Giboney
Mike Bohn, D-28398, is a world-class freefly competitor, drop zone owner and AFF instructor. He’s a high-energy person who has medaled in freefly both nationally and internationally with his teammates on Team FLO. Bohn organizes state record jumps in Colorado, and also holds numerous world records.
Nicknames: Not suitable for print
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado
Marital Status: Yes
Children: Samantha (2 years), Bodhi (9 months)
Occupation: DZO [of Orange Skies Free Fall Center in Fort Collins, Colorado], skydiver, amateur meteorologist
Education: Joined the U.S. Marines right out of high school
Pet Peeves: Talking without walking. Entitlement and expectation without hard work.
Life Philosophy: Hard work will take you anywhere you want to go. “You gotta risk it for the biscuit.” —Zach Bohn
Jump Philosophy: “Just believe you can fly.” —Peter Pan
Team Name: Oceanside FLO/Team FLO
Sponsors: Cookie Helmets, GoJump Ocean-side, NZ Aerosports, Ohana Yoga + Barre, Orange Skies Free Fall Center, Tsunami Skydivers Exotic Boogies, United Parachute Technologies and Vertical Suits
Container: United Parachute Technologies Micron 316
Main Canopy: NZ Aerosports Leia 84
Reserve: Performance Designs Optimum 126
Disciplines: Freefly is the art of mastering all positions. (I do love throwing on the booty sausage [formation skydiving suit] once in a while.)
First Jump: AFF in 2002
USPA License and Ratings: D-28398, Coach, AFF Instructor
Medals and Records: One gold medal in advanced VFS, USPA Nationals; five gold medals in freefly, USPA Nationals; one silver medal in freefly, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Cup. Colorado Record for Largest Formation Skydive (69-way), California Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive (64-way), FAI World Record for Largest Head-Up Formation Skydive (52-, 55- and 72-ways), FAI World Record for Largest Head-Down Formation Skydive (164-way). Organized numerous Colorado state records.
Total Number of Jumps: 6,000 to 7,000 Freefly: 5,000 AFF: 1,000 Booty Sausage: 500 Balloon: 50
Largest Completed Formation: 164-way
Total Cutaways: 20-plus
Most Cutaways in a Week: Four
Most people don’t know this about me: I am a lucid dreamer.
Does one skydive stand out most? Round one of the 2016 FAI World Parachuting Championships. I remember being the most terrified I’ve ever been on the plane. I just kept focusing on one phrase: “Get to the door and let the training take over.” The second I stepped out of the door with my team, the fear was instantly gone, and I felt at peace back home in freefall.
How long do you plan on skydiving? Until everyone starts looking at my gear, like, “I can’t believe he jumps that ….”
Who have been your skydiving mentors? Andy Malchiodi has had a big influence on my flying career; he is a ferocious competitor and pours so much energy into his students and the development of the sport. Rich Grimm has been a close friend and guide to me through many years of trying to open my own drop zone. I told him in 2014 that I wanted to be a DZO. He replied, “Are you nuts?” but has never quit pushing me along the way.
What safety item do you think is most often neglected? Planning your skydive from the top all the way to the bottom. Stop chatting in the airplane on final. Pay attention! You are about to jump from a plane. Double check your gear; make sure you have a clean path to the door; look out for one another.
How did you become interested in skydiving? As a little boy, I was watching “Point Break” for the first time with my dad. When Bodhi ripped that pike tuck out the door with all his friends, I asked my dad if people really did that. He said, “yes,” and I was obsessed since then.
Do you have any suggestions for students? “Never limit yourself to one style.” —Bruce Lee
If you could do a fantasy 2-way with anybody, whom would it be with and where would it take place? My dad. Somewhere tropical over a beach.
What has been your most embarrassing moment at a drop zone? After landing from my first AFF jump, I pulled my reserve handle after landing and popped the pilot chute off my back.
Someday I am going to own: Cobb Lake.
What kind of student were you? I learned quickly in the early stages but had to work harder as I gained experience.
What do you consider your most significant life achievement? This last year, I opened a DZ and helped raise a 2-year-old and an infant, all while training for a world competition at my own DZ. Not sure if I did any of those things well, but I fought like hell all the way through.
Do you have any suggestions for USPA? I’d like to see the push for higher funding for competition teams, like some countries have. I understand a lot of them are government funded, but then do the work and find that path. It seems skydiving is more respected in other countries.
What has been your best skydiving moment? There was a group of AFF students who were part of a club that faced fears together. I ended up with a very tall, very overweight bald man who was terrified of flying, let alone skydiving. It took two go-arounds to get him in the door and all of my mental energy to build up his confidence to make the jump. When we left the door, his screams of joy could be heard for miles, and when he landed on the ground, he picked me up and carried me around while he was laughing. I’ll never forget him …
What has been your greatest competition moment? Winning my first open freefly competition at the 2014 USPA Nationals. We only got it by 0.1 points. Colby [McNeil] and I were both tearing up and jumping up and down when the scores posted. We worked so hard that year and were the heavy underdogs next to Team Atlas, for sure.
What is your motivation to compete at the highest levels? Once you have been there and seen the best skydivers, it is unlike anything else. I love the determination of the teams, the high level of respect for everyone’s personal skills and the etiquette on and off the plane.
What’s the best thing about Team FLO? That our team has kept flying even though we have faced hard sacrifice and tough circumstances. We all put the team before ourselves for some time now. I am very proud to have flown with Chad [Ross], Colby [McNeil] and Leland [Procell]; they are great humans and unbelievably skilled skydivers.
How did you become interested in artistic freefly? When I was a young flyer, I used to watch Matt Lewis and Nick Boyd train at my OG home DZ. I thought they were gods when I was a student. I even still have Nick’s old Team Axiom suit!
What is the future of freefly? Freefly is in danger. There is not an advanced class, and the moves required in the compulsories alone can be tough to learn in a season. However, there are a few teams in the works, and I am here to support them in any way I can! Let’s go, Taft Evolution!
Explain Mike Bohn in five words or fewer: Persistent, motivated, dad, life student.