My Free Fall Experience: Skydiving VS FlightLine

We recently partnered with SparkShop to capture our free fall devices in action. SparkShop is a video production company that specializes in adventure sports. This means that over the years they have been around a plethora of incredible people doing incredible things. We were interested in how they thought our free fall activities compared to other adventure sports, so we asked Kyle Berkompas to write a guest post about his free fall experience. This is what he had to say about our time together:

At 26 years old, I don't consider myself to be a badass in any sense of the word. Yes I've done 32 skydives, owned a few motorcycles, rock climbed a bit, and jumped off of a few 300+ foot rope-swings, but compared to the athletes and adventurers that I work with, I'm soft. My name is Kyle Berkompas and I'm an adventure filmmaker living in Boulder, CO. It's my job to make cool people look cool while they're doing cool things.

I recently found myself on top of a 70 foot tower, video camera in hand, watching as a nervous-looking girl jumped off into the abyss below. She was attached by a long cable connected to the FlightLine, a free fall device that gives you about 40 feet of free fall before catching you and safely bringing you to the ground. Having a decent number of skydives under my belt; I offered to go next, thinking this would be pretty casual in comparison. I clipped in and stepped to the edge of the tower. My palms started to sweat and my heart began to race. I didn't expect the adrenaline to pour itself on so ferociously, after all, I was used to jumping at 12,000 feet. Here I was at 70 feet and I was actually a bit scared. My experience as an amateur skydiver and an adventure cinematographer has taught me that the longer I wait to do scary things, the scarier they become. I gave a 3-2-1-see ya and jumped. After about 35 feet of free fall, the eddy current magnetic braking engaged and lowered me safely to the ground, “Huhhh, it works!"

Some of us are always looking for bigger and better thrills. From amusement rides and roller coasters to bungee jumping and skydiving, there's something out there for everyone. The FlightLine Free Fall device combines the simplicity of an amusement ride with the adventure and thrill of a bungee jump or skydive. Granted, you're not at 12,000 feet looking out the door of an airplane with 75mph winds in your face, but you do have to put the same trust in your equipment, your guide, and yourself.

Standing at the edge of the tower attached to the FlightLine, I quickly thought about my time skydiving. I remember being at the door of the plane during my first jump, eyes twice as big as usual, palms sweaty, focused. I had put in many hours beforehand in the wind tunnel, ground school, and thinking about what that feeling of jumping would be like. The FlightLine jump gave me a similar feeling of adventure and butterflies but without the cost, preparation, and hours of training. Here was something that could be done with just a short drive and a walk up some stairs. It was simple, yet nerve racking. The FlightLine's free fall experience gave me the same butterflies as skydiving without the noise, wind, hours of prep work and without spending thousands of dollars. After being safely lowered to the ground, the only thing I wanted to do was climb back up and do it again. In the end, the FlightLine free fall experience wasn't skydiving, but it's about as close as you can get 70 feet up with no experience. I think I'll save up and buy a FlightLine for my backyard, might save me thousands of dollars I would have otherwise spent on skydiving.

-Kyle Berkompas

Director of Action Sports at SparkShop

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