• Mark Robson’s Head-Mounted Art Gallery

    Monday 17 September 2018, by Cookie

    In 1985, Mark Robson joined the British Army’s Parachute Regiment at the tender age of 16. The fresh-faced young soldier completed his static line military parachuting course jumping balloons, C130 aircraft and Chinook helicopters—but he wasn’t the least bit interested in civilian jumping. Shortly after reaching Battalion in 1986, he made a tandem jump from 13,000 feet at Netheravon. As a result of that jump, Mark had no interest in civilian skydiving and swore ‘never again,’ choosing instead to stick with the static-line drops he was paid to complete.

    Some 30 years on—and after a change of career, from the military to the police force—Mark's son Charlie completed his own tandem from 15,000 feet, then went on to try his hand at the wind tunnel. His son’s experience inspired Mark to complete an AFF course in 2017 at the UK’s Peterlee drop zone—as well as, in his words, to become “more or less hooked” on the tunnel himself.

    If you’ve seen Mark in person at either of these haunts, you recognize him immediately. Why? Because he’s got the most stylish head in skydiving. Mark’s Cookie collection is a thing of immense beauty.

    Cookie G3 helmet

    The Helmet Collection Begins

    The story of Mark’s helmet collection begins at the beginning: when Mark started out on his A-license journey. For those first jumps, he was wearing a Cookie Fuel. He loved it. As soon as he was permitted by the BPA rulebook to wear a full-face helmet, he transitioned directly over to a matte black G3. As much as he loved his Cookie, Mark knew something was missing. He wanted to make it more … well … personal. And he didn’t want to do it with stickers.

    To do so, he reached out to airbrush artist Dan Armer to use that G3 as a canvas to reflect Mark’s military background.

    The result, as you can see, is nothing less than spectacular. The scene depicted on the helmet borrows a lot from Mark’s service history. 

    “One of my first battalion drops—when the whole battalion jumps simultaneously, 650 men—was into Norway onto a frozen lake in the winter of 1987,” Mark says. “That’s where the mountainous terrain comes from, on the lower section of the helmet.”

    “I fitted red side plates as a nod to the battalion I served with and their red DZ flash,” he adds. “Not everybody knows that, but those in the loop see it and smile.”

    Mark doesn’t regularly jump this particular helmet. Even though it has a protective clear coat lacquer, he’s worried about damaging it. That said, he certainly intends to wear it for special jumps—his hundredth, for instance, which will be coming up soon for the new FS1 B-licensee.

    “At the moment, it’s more of a display piece,” Mark explains. “As you walk down the stairs, it’s on the shelf, so you can’t miss it.”

    The helmets that Mark regularly wears to the dropzone are less spectacular than his military-themed G3, but no less memorable. His other helmets—two G3s and a Fuel—are hydro-dipped as opposed to airbrushed.

    “One G3 is best described as rusty checkerplate,” Mark says. “That’s the one that’s the crisscross pattern. I just wanted something that was masculine without being bright and garish. It’s quite industrial. A few people have said to me that it’s a bit Mad-Maxish. I like that. I changed up the side plates so they match my rig.”

    “The other one—the yellow and black snakeskin—matches my yellow and black FS suit,” he continues.

    The third helmet is Mark’s original Fuel, done up in red and black snakeskin. Right now, it’s on standby, waiting for its owner to take up his next skydiving goal: camera flying. In the meantime, Mark is diligently ticking off the jumps he needs to get to the 200-jump mark, jumping as much as he can with his (10,000-jumps-plus) coach/mentor/friend John Horne and thoroughly enjoying FS.

    “I find the camera fliers at my DZ to be some of the friendliest jumpers around,” Mark muses. “They are great fliers and have great communication skills to match. They can make a tandem student’s day all the more special. I find them—and John—truly inspirational.”

    “I suppose, eventually, I’ll do some big-way stuff with the FS,” Mark says, “But for now, I’m just enjoying the journey. I don’t want to stick any hard-and-fast targets that I would get fixated on. I just want to have fun and stay safe.”

    ... have fun, stay safe, and look good doing it, clearly.

    “Everybody has got a black one or a navy blue one,” Mark grins, “so I thought I would have something different.”

    All custom designs are painted by third-party vendors or local artists, not through Cookie. While we love seeing creative paint jobs on the Fuel and G3 helmets, we advise against painting the M3. Doing so may alter the impact properties and void the rating.