With online videos now a part of our daily life, you have no doubt been made aware of such activities as Wingsuit BASE Jumping or Jetpack Skydiving. For the majority of us, these fall more into the stunt category rather than sport, and we would be fooling ourselves to think for a moment that we might someday try it ourselves. Well there is a new adventure sport about to pop onto our radars, and at first glance it would seem to be just another ridiculous way to try and kill yourself. This sport is called Speed Flying, and before shrugging it off as out of your league after watching 20 seconds of it, you might want to do yourself a favor and dig below the surface to learn a little more about it. It could very well change your life in a positive way.
I am writing this article because I am one of those people that decided to give something like this a try, and it changed my life forever. For me it was skydiving. I am now a 21 year veteran of the sport, and in that time I have tried to convince hundreds of others to give it a go. My success rate was about 10% in getting people to try at least one jump, and of those, only 3 ever stuck with it. I quit trying to talk people into skydiving about a decade ago because it took too much energy, and I had moved on to BASE Jumping anyway. This isn't a sport that you try to drag others into, for obvious reasons, and thus I have been dormant in my attempts to introduce others to new and exciting activities. Until now.
Let me cut to the chase: I want you to give Speed Flying a try (of course you already knew that was where I was going). You are naturally wondering why I suddenly feel like trying to convince others to participate in yet another aerial sport. Well, very simply, Speed Flying brings about the same emotional high as Skydiving or BASE Jumping, but without the same strings attached that turn people away. It is a sport that is more accessible and with more appeal for most people. Since a quick YouTube search will give you a beautiful visual of what Speed Flying is, I am going to simply give you a laundry list as to why you really should try it.
First, and most importantly, you can baby step your way into Speed Flying. With sports like Skydiving or BASE Jumping, it's "go" or "no go", and nothing in between. You start literally at the very bottom of the hill and work your way up at your own pace. If you feel perfectly happy running off a 20 foot bunny slope, then you can continue to do that until you crave more. No pressure.
Speed Flying will take you to the most beautiful places on the planet. You will discover locations that you never would have were it not for the sport. Standing on a remote mountain top with 2 or 3 friends is a normal activity with Speed Flying.
You will be able to ditch your gym membership. Not only will you get into the greatest shape of your life, you won't even notice you are exercising. Seriously! Hiking is sooo much easier when there is a purpose to it, and you are excited with anticipation of a great flight. An added bonus: you only have to hike one way, and you won't trash your knees and shins hiking back down.
You will meet some of the greatest people on Earth. Activities as unique as this draw in passionate individuals that aren't hung up on the materialistic pursuits of the "real" world. If you are a materialistic person, all the better reason to participate. You will quickly realize how unimportant all that other stuff really is.
You will become a pilot. Yes, a pilot. Your speed wing follows all the same aerodynamic principles as any other aircraft, and you will learn to take command of it. Speed Flying truly is the least expensive form of personal flight, by far. A year of golf costs more than a year of speed flying.
It's always an adventure!
This is the short list of reasons why you just might want to give Speed Flying a try. There are many more, I can assure you. But you've got to take the initiative to find out.
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Troy Hartman is an aerial sports enthusiast and pilot. His background includes Hollywood stunt work, hosting television shows, and earning an X-Games gold medal. Perhaps his most memorable performance was skysurfing with a goose in Pepsi's 1998 award winning Superbowl commercial. Troy is a California native and splits his time between Mammoth Mountain and San Diego. Be sure to check out his Speed Flying Wings site.
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