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Personal Flights: Aerial Sports

For many people, participating in sports is about physical prowess and athleticism. The thrill may come from winning, obtaining a score that is a personal best, or from working successfully with a team. Other people thrive in sports that are challenging in terms of the risks that are involved. These people are often thought of as adrenaline junkies or thrill seekers. For them, aerial sports provide the ultimate adrenaline spike. An aerial sport is one that takes place not on land or water, but far above the ground. These death-defying sports give the participant the sensation of freedom and flying, allowing them to see the world from a vantage point that other sports cannot equal.


Skydiving is a sport that involves jumping from an airplane from heights between 3,000 to 10,500 feet above ground level. Its origins go back to the 18th century when a French citizen by the name of Jacques Garnerin jumped over Europe from balloons. After this initial jump, skydiving has become a common activity for both men and women. The jumper wears a parachute attached to his or her body, which will allow him or her to land safely on the ground. People who are inexperienced or who are skydiving for the first time may go on tandem jumps, where they are attached to a licensed, professional skydiver. The experienced skydiver will control the dive and release the parachute. Other, experienced skydivers will dive solo, and in some cases may perform aerobatics maneuvers before releasing their parachute. Groups of skydivers may jump together to create various shapes or forms in the air before their parachute needs releasing.


Gliding is a thrilling aerial sport that is also known as soaring. When gliding, the participant rides in a small aircraft called a glider or sailplane. Gliders are typically made to seat one to two people, and they do not operate by using an engine. Instead, the glider is launched from a location that is high off the ground. It is kept afloat by wind currents and navigation is performed by the pilot. Typically, can reach heights up to 5000 feet and can fly as fast as 81 miles per hour.


The year 1783 was a momentous one in terms of ballooning. In October of that year, the first balloon took to the air with a duck, a rooster and a sheep in tow. This was followed by first a tethered, and then an untethered, flight holding the first human passenger, a French scientist by the name of Jean-François Pilâtre De Rozier. Today, there are few, if any, people who are not familiar with hot air balloons. Many people may associate ballooning with hot air balloon rides for tourists or sightseers, but it is also an increasingly popular sport. As a sport, balloon enthusiasts may compete for speed or maneuverability. Depending on the particular competition, they may need to complete precision tasks such as launching a marker or touching down on a specific spot. Ballooning as a sport includes hot air balloon competitions, hot air airship championships, and gas balloon competitions. Some of these championships are international, such as the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett for gas balloons.


The history of paragliding is not a clear one. Some believe that it was invented in 1963, while others believe that it was invented in the late 70s. By the 80s, however, paragliding began to establish itself as a sport with increasing interest and participation. When a person is paragliding, he or she is able to fly through the air courtesy of a paraglider wing, which is also known as an airfoil. The pilot is buckled into a harness which is attached to the wing by risers. These risers hold the shape of the wing. By riding currents of air, a paraglider can go higher and travel for miles in the air. To prepare for a potential complication, paragliders also wear a reserve parachute. For some people, paragliding is a recreational sport, while others may participate in races and other competitions.

Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping is a sport that is defined by the adrenaline rush associated with it. When a person participates in bungee jumping, he or she is attached to a cord and jumps from a tall structure, such as a bridge. The cord prevents the person from hitting the bottom and, because it is elastic, the jumper bounces back up and then down again several times. For people who wish to increase the thrill of the jump, it is possible to leap from a helicopter or a hot air balloon. In addition to the cord, the diver also typically wears a harness that fits around his or her ankles or, for increases safety; a body harness is also worn in addition to the ankle attachment.

The origins of bungee jumping go back to Pentecost Island in the Pacific Archipelago of Vanuatu. The men of the island jumped using vines attached to their ankles in a yam harvest ritual and as a test of manhood. According to legend, it is believed that the first vine jump was made by a woman who tied a vine to her ankle and threatened to jump from a Banyan tree when pursued by her abusive husband. When her husband, whose name was Tamalie, followed, the woman jumped. When he jumped after her he died, while the vine stopped her fall. The Oxford Dangerous Sport Club, in April 1979, did the first modern bungee jump off of a bridge in England.

Author: Angus L. McGuire




ElJet acts as an agent for private air charter services on behalf of our clients. ElJet does not own or operate any aircraft nor is ElJet a direct or indirect air carrier. All charter flights booked with ElJet will be operated by FAR Part 135 air carriers "Operators" or the international equivalent, who will maintain full operational control of charter flights at all times.