Thrill-seekers, this one is for you.
You can now get a bird's-eye view of the Grand Canyon while free-falling from 15,000 feet, reaching speeds up to 124 miles per hour.
Paragon Skydive is the first company approved for tandem skydiving at the Grand Canyon. (Technically, you're not falling into the Grand Canyon--there's flight, safety and legal rules there--but you are flying high enough and close enough that you'll still be able to see the entire South Rim.)
"[It's the] most amazing experience ever," said Aoife (pronounced Eefa) Murphy, co-founder of Paragon Skydive, who spoke to me via phone from Grand Canyon Airport. "You can see the whole thing."
She would know. She was the first "test" flight and is relatively new to skydiving, she says, considering her business partner, Jason Theuma, has over 20 years experience.
But, skydiving isn't new for these two. They have other skydiving operations in other countries.
THE ASCENT AND THE JUMP
A Cessna 206 will take off from Grand Canyon Airport and take you up 15,000 feet in the air to the "drop zone," skydive speak for the point where you will deliberately jump. It takes about 20-24 minutes and gives you some nice aerial views.
Once you jump, for the next 30 seconds you will free fall toward the ground. The tandem instructor will deploy the parachute and you will have a much slower descent (around 5 minutes) where you can take in the scenic views.
Like most companies, they do have photo and video packages so you can re-watch your trip.
TIPS FOR THE NERVOUS NEWBIE:
Whether you're scared of heights or nervous about the idea of jumping out of a plane, Aoife cites statistics. She says you're more likely to be struck by lightning than die from skydiving.
Most importantly, they have purchased the latest equipment and are a member of United States Parachute Association. Aoife also points out that since the airport is owned by ADOT and regulated through the FAA, the process is regulated for safety and efficiency.
Some important information to know: you do have to be at least 18 to jump, closed toed shoes are required, and during the spring and summer light active wear is recommended. During the winter, a few extra layers would be wise.
IF YOU GO:
Where: Grand Canyon Airport
Time: Year-round. Sunrise to sunset. (Note: Wind, weather can cancel flights).