In June 2001, Tim Grech gave up his corporate job to build a skydiving centre on 347 acres of pristine property. Tim and his team of CSPA-certified instructors introduce amateurs to the sky through guided-tandem or assisted-solo jumps and shepherd experienced jumpers through the progressive freefall. The bustling skydive centre boasts scenic views of Grand River, along with free camp sites with fire pits and communal barbecues for roasting freshly plucked clouds on a stick.
Securely fastened into a tandem-parachute system, an instructor and a pupil tumble from a Skylane Cessna 182, a floating sensation running through their bodies for the 45- to 60-second plummet. Back on solid ground, a 25-acre drop zone reunites divers post-free-fall, and in the distance, Skydive Pennsylvania's pilots shuttle other divers skyward in a fleet of aircrafts that includes a King Air, which can ascend 13,500 feet in 15 minutes. The on-ground personnel photograph all tandem and instruction-assisted-free-fall dives, converting their footage into professionally edited slideshows of stills and screensavers for skydiving-prone laptops.
The 12-foot-wide vertical wind tunnel at Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center stretches 20 feet to the ceiling. Inside, it churns with currents of recirculating air—a system that allows its operators to control the wind conditions and temperature regardless of outside weather. Padded walls and floors, as well as trained instructors, keep those inside safe as they're borne aloft by currents of up to 120 miles per hour. Instructors prepare adventurers—who may be as young as 7 years old—for these turbulent conditions during preflight training sessions, during which they divulge flight physics, safety, and communication hand signals. They also encase their visitors in all necessary safety gear, such as helmets, pads, flight suits, and invisible force fields.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Skydive Cleveland gives its customers two ways to soar through the sky. The first is a tandem dive, where, following a short briefing, seasoned instructors lead students upward, and then back down. The pros handle every detail, from the initial jump to the landing; after freefalling for 60 seconds from heights of 10,000, they pull the cord and release the parachute, leaving participants free to enjoy the ride. Alternatively, the Accelerated Free-Fall program prep individuals for solo dives with a combination ?of classroom instruction and hands-on experience.