LEARN TO SOAR INDOORS AT VEGAS INDOOR SKYDIVING


High-flying attraction generates a supercharged thrill…

With all of the technology at our disposal, virtual reality has become an everyday norm. If you can dream it, you can (almost) live it. But long before we were able to strap on electronic gloves and headsets, there was Vegas Indoor Skydiving. And it’s so much more than a simulation.

Nestled in an easy-to-find location between the Strip’s famous Peppermill Restaurant and Las Vegas Convention Center, Vegas Indoor Skydiving has been a must-do destination to thrill seekers for 37 years. The only attraction of its kind in Las Vegas, V.I.S. allows you to defy gravity and experience the sensation of a free-fall without the need for a parachute, tandem partner or airplane.

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Previous flyers return again and again while great online testimonials lure newbies from around the world. General Manager Dave McMahan is excited that his facility and expertly-trained staff are able to provide guests with such a “uniquely Vegas” adventure.

We are proud to be operating the nation’s first indoor skydiving facility, which opened in 1982. Customer service is our #1 focus after safety and it’s always great to hear when we hit the mark.

Safety is indeed the top consideration here. Keep in mind that this is a sport, not a ride or simulator. Candidates must be in good health and meet specified weight/height guidelines (based on aerodynamics) in order to fly. You must also be free from influence of drugs/alcohol and with no history of neck/back/shoulder injuries. Just like in traditional skydiving, guests must sign a waiver before proceeding to the instruction phase.

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Prior to suiting up, you’ll watch a short video that teaches you various body positions and movements that will be used throughout. Since the turbine generates an air stream (up to 120 mph) at very high decibels, earplugs are required…and that necessitates communicating with your instructor via hand signals. You’ll need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of every protocol before donning your goggles, specially-designed flight suit and helmet and heading into the vertical wind tunnel.

McMahan knows that participating in sports of this nature are a great way to bond with friends and family. And learning something new together makes it even more special.

Vegas Indoor Skydiving  is one of the most unique attractions in Las Vegas. It’s for people of all ages to enjoy. The possibilities are endless in the wind tunnel, but the coolest trick is teaching other people how to fly.

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            General Manager Dave McMahan (right) at V.I.S. annual charity Tunnel Jam

Like any physical activity, there is a period of awkwardness when you begin. The “Learn To Fly” session helps you to adapt to the intense winds while you earn your wings, so to speak. The “Fly for 5” package is designed for advanced types and return visitors, giving you extra time to test out more daring maneuvers. Family packages (up to 5) and group parties (up to 20 participants) can be arranged for any special occasion.

No matter what session you choose, your instructor will always be at your side. He or she will assist you in maintaining balance and soaring up and down. They’ll also demonstrate how to perform amazing spins and flips. You can even lock hands with the instructor and your companions to take flight  

The facility itself is a veritable museum. Click HERE to continue via BestOfVegas.com…

 

 

Vegas Indoor Skydiving opens daily at 9:30 am. Closing times and holiday hours vary. Sessions take place every 30 minutes. Ample free parking is provided.

Photos: Sam Novak, Vegas Indoor Skydiving

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Serenity Helicopters: the Ultimate Grand Canyon Experience


VIP service brings another dimension to Las Vegas dinner-and-a-show dates…

Sometimes the fates are determined to bring certain individuals into your life….not once, but many times. Such was the case two short months ago when I met a charismatic couple on a flight from Portland, Oregon to Las Vegas.

During my conversation with them, I stated that for a variety of reasons I’d never join them as residents of Sin City. Fast-forward to a few short weeks later. Now I’m buying a Vegas home…and ran into them again at the AFAN Black and White Party. It was clear that yet another encounter was ahead…one that would culminate in a return trip to the skies.

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The couple is pilot/company instructor Jim Gisclair and his wife Trina Larmony, Operations Manager at Serenity Helicopters. Just the mention of choppers pricks up my ears, as riding in a helicopter has been one of my longtime desires. I told Jim and Trina about my website and how I’d absolutely love to do an article on their service. After all, it would make a great companion piece to my one on Sin City Skydiving, which you can read here.

Serenity Helicopters

Jim and Trina are amazing people who are worthy of their own profile article. I could tell you about Jim’s experiences as an former UH-60 Blackhawk Pilot for the United States Army. I could go on endlessly about Trina’s tireless charitable work on behalf of children with special needs.

Perhaps they’ll end up in a future edition of SEXY POWER DUOS. Trina and Jim certainly are a stunning pair. But let’s focus on Serenity Helicopters for now…and what sets them apart from similar companies in the Valley.

Serenity Helicopters

Much like in Hawaii, the Vegas area is perfect scenery to view from the sky. Spectacular sunsets, brilliantly-colored lights on the Strip and close proximity to the Grand Canyon make helicopter tours a must-do for thousands of visitors.

There are many helicopter tour agencies operating in and around Las Vegas. They offer various levels of service to fit most budgets. Naturally, you get what you pay for….and sometimes that includes the safety record that comes with cost-conscious services.

Serenity Helicopters is the ultimate in Grand Canyon tours. First and foremost, they carry a one hundred percent perfect safety record. This company has been operating for more than 25 years, first as Air Maui before expanding to Sin City. Their small exclusive fleet is meticulously maintained.

Serenity Helicopters

At each day’s end, an entirely new crew takes charge of the aircraft. Our FAA-certified and factory-trained mechanics inspect and maintain our helicopters to ensure that every component and system meets the highest standards of safety and quality. Our standards are simple: “If it’s not perfect, it doesn’t fly.”

Jim explained to me that Serenity knows the ins and outs of each of their aircraft very well. He flies his route with confidence, much like you do when driving your own personal vehicle. And each of their pilots are the absolute best in their field, bar none.

Most of Serenity’s captains, like Jim, come from a military background…so you could say that they’re “battle tested and time tested”. They’re also skilled tour guides, giving you a bunch of intriguing insights during your journey…along with witty stories and plenty of laughs.

Serenity Helicopters

The aircraft interiors are relatively spacious, comfortable and super-clean. Windscreens provide panoramic 180-degree views of the scenery. Your flight will be smooth as glass with a minimum of noise and vibration. You’re provided with noise-reduction headsets to keep you in touch with your guide as you enjoy atmospheric music personally chosen by your pilot to enhance the visuals.

Serenity Helicopters offers a number of daytime and sunset tours, with or without meals. You can even request a personalized flight plan for custom charters. My pal Danny and I were lucky enough to be welcomed aboard for their best offering – the Sunset Grand Canyon Tour and Dinner. This VIP experience is a two-hour trip over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, continuing into the Grand Canyon for a gourmet evening meal.

Serenity Helicopters

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For our excursion, we were picked up at a Strip hotel by one of Serenity’s luxurious vans. It was plush and spacious, offering leather seats, a high-end sound/video system, bottled drinks and internet tablets at every seat. The 20-minute drive to Serenity’s base of operations concluded with a brief video safety presentation before were escorted inside.

Serenity Helicopters

Serenity Helicopters

Serenity Helicopters

Our parties checked in with the gracious staff, then we relaxed in the lounge-like office before receiving final safety instructions. Soon we were heading through the hangar and onto the tarmac to board our flight. (A final visit to the restroom is highly suggested as there are no facilities from this point until your return.)

Liftoff was a breeze and in no time our group was sailing over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. The visuals were absolutely stunning and had me feeling like Christopher Reeve flying over the same spot in 1978’s SUPERMAN THE MOVIE.

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Serenity Helicopters

After passing Memorial Bridge and the lake we crossed into Arizona, over an extinct volcano and deep into the desert. It wasn’t long before our flight brought us right to the edge of the Grand Canyon…then into the heart of one of the world’s greatest wonders.

Gorgeous vistas, sun-drenched rocks, stunning colors and amazing unspoiled nature. What passed around and under us was almost too much to drink in. I found myself with tears in my eyes and my heart pounding. Yet in retrospect, the simultaneous peacefulness (dare I say “serenity”?) of the experience was remarkable.

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As the journey into the canyon continued, we flew past the Grand Canyon Skywalk and over the Colorado River before arriving at Serenity’s own private landing area. There we took in a flawless panoramic view of the valley. While we explored the terrain, pilots from both aircraft set up their tables for a piping hot gourmet meal…complete with china, table cloths and champagne.

Serenity Helicopters

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Serenity Helicopters

Serenity Helicopters

As our pilot topped off our glasses of bubbly, he described to me how Serenity devised a way to transport their dinners to such a far-off locale while keeping them hot, flavorful and satisfying. I won’t give away trade secrets, but layers of custom-shaped pizza stones inside the insulated totes might have been mentioned.

 

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Soon the sun was dipping towards the horizon, so our pilots gathered passengers for the return trip. I was able to catch this cool video (above) of our tour-mates lifting off. Then our own chopper headed for the horizon. The most awe-inspiring moments lie ahead. Words can’t describe them, so I won’t even bother to try.

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Serenity Helicopters

Serenity Helicopters

If you only watch a single clip, make it the one below. Be sure to click “HD” and expand it to full screen:

After a smooth and glorious landing, Jim and Trina allowed us to stay behind a little while as our copter was brought into the hangar for meticulous safety checks and maintenance. Then it was back to the van for our return trip to the Strip.

 

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Much like my skydiving adventure, the Grand Canyon helicopter tour was one of those unforgettable moments that you have to do at least once. And if you’re ready to do something this monumental, why not go with the best in the industry?

Serenity Helicopters not only sets the standard for aerial tours, but they surpass it each and every time.

Serenity Helicopters

Serenity Helicopters operates daily. The company is a TripAdvisor Hall of Fame recipient, having been awarded their Certificate of Excellence for eight consecutive years.

Check the Serenity Helicopters website for flight options, pricing and more. Insider tip: single fliers can get special pricing on unsold seats when available. Call for information on this offer at 702.589.7700. 

Photos and video: Sammasseur, Danny Angel, Jim Gisclair, Trina Larmony, Serenity Helicopters