Phoenix Area Skydiving’s professional staff specializes in training and instilling confidence in first-time skydivers. They accompany these novices into compact aircraft for up to 120-mile-per-hour tandem free falls over the expansive Arizona desert landscape. Once up in the air, they field visitors’ questions about flight mechanics and often let them control the parachute, granting a more effective hands-on skydiving experience than wrestling with a ceiling fan. They also prepare visitors for solo flights with an accelerated free-fall program, and safeguard each diver’s safety with a technique briefing and gear check before every flight.
The roar of the plane engine recedes, and soon the only sound is the rushing of the air. The blue expanse of the sky extends endlessly in every direction—except straight down, where Phoenix is slowly blossoming from a satellite map into a 3-D skyline. Suddenly, the parachute puffs into action and turns the 120-mile-per-hour descent into a gentle drift.
The instructors at Skydive Phoenix get to enjoy this experience almost daily. They also have the pleasure of inducting customers into the delights of controlled plummeting as they perform tandem dives in a dedicated drop zone—the only to offer actual city views during the fall. Strapped to their customers, sky guides take care of all the important aspects of the dive so that their partner can just enjoy the sights and adrenaline. They also provide coaching for those who wish to work up to unchaperoned dives, which are the only way to meet single clouds.
Before 1998, Maurice Sheldon kept busy as a computer programmer, web technology teacher, and architect. But since his induction into the world of PPG (powered paragliding), "Mo" has won multiple accolades for his skills as a glider pilot, once winning third place at the USPPA national competitions. He endeavored to share his passion for flying above the desert landscapes outside Phoenix by opening Airparamo, a 1,500-square-foot paragliding equipment and instructional facility in Maricopa. He achieved an advanced instructor certification in 2003 and has helped hundreds of pilots learn to navigate solo flights and shoo away advancing rain clouds.
Every single minute inside the tunnel at SkyVenture Arizona Indoor Skydiving is like a free fall from 13,000 feet—only you aren't going anywhere. As a chasm below the floor generates massive amounts of wind, the air flows up through your hair and arms at speeds up to 150 miles per hour, giving your body lift and allowing you to soar in place.
However, it doesn't take long for even first-timers to defy gravity. SkyVenture Arizona Indoor Skydiving's certified instructors take each newbie through a brief training, then take them through the tunnel's doors. Of course, these experts are right there to guide novices through each part of the flight and make sure they haven't spontaneously evolved any feathers.
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