Catching up with... Matt Lajeunesse
Matt Lajeunesse has over 1200 BASE jumps and works tirelessly to help the BASE community in many ways...
One of the rather frequently asked questions in the skydiving forums, no matter which country or language, is: “I am going to Las Vegas, should I take my rig with me?” To be honest, up till now there was only one DZ around worth considering. But now there is a new kid in town…
Las Vegas is a great holiday destination, not only if you want to get married. It´s also a great place to start scenic trips to some of the most breathtaking National Parks of the US. Fairs and conventions also bring a lot of people to the city that never sleeps. So you as a skydiver may end up in Las Vegas for one of the reasons stated above or any other. Some of us take their rig everywhere they go, looking for some jumps. And if you google “Las Vegas skydiving”, you get 875.000 hits. But as mentioned, Vegas is a holiday destination, so it's safe to assume, that 99% of these hits relate to Tandem selling websites. Thats a big thing around Vegas, you find advertisement for Tandem Skydives everywhere in the City. But that’s most probably not what you are looking for. And even if you call or email the Tandem centers around Las Vegas, only one of them takes fun jumpers on a load, if there is a slot left. And still you have to pay 40 US-$. So up till last July, there was only one place of interest for a skydiver around Las Vegas. Skydive Mesquite is situated in the City of Mesquite along Interstate 15, leading North-East towards Salt Lake City. However from Las Vegas the dropzone is 87 miles / 140 km away, which takes you about 80 minutes to get there. On the weekend it’s a nice place, very fun jumper friendly and with good vibes. Besides that they organize an awesome boogie each January. On the weekend you will find a nice selection of Belly, Freefly and Wingsuit, during the week a fun jumper is very welcome to join a load if they have some tandems going up.
On July 1, 2016, a new dropzone opened up. Skydive Fyrosity is located in Overton, also North-East of Vegas but a bit off from Interstate 15. It takes you 67 miles / 107 km or 69 minutes to go there from Vegas. Sammy J. Vassilev is a 2nd generation skydiver from Bulgaria with over 8300 skydives in 27 years as a fulltime skydiver. You may know Sammy as the manager of Skydive TV, the older ones may remember him as a world class Skysurfer. Since 1994 Sammy was living in Las Vegas, working as a tandem instructor. But he always had the dream of a fun jumper friendly dropzone. As the airspace around Las Vegas is quite busy with more than 1000 flights per day, it took Sammy some time to find a place with no airspace restrictions, where he could open up his own dropzone. The city of Overton has a little airport called Perkins Field, which has never seen a commercial operation. It took another four years to convince all involved authorities and to get the necessary permits. But since July last year, the DZ is up and running. It's open 365 days a year. They operate a King Air and a Cessna 182. Needless to say the King Air is everybody's favorite, as it climbs to 13.000 feet / 4 km in less than 10 minutes.
It's open 365 days a year. They operate a King Air and a Cessna 182. The King Air is everybody's favorite, as it climbs to 13.000 feet in less than 10 minutes.
Right now the Dropzone is operated out of a large aircraft hangar. It offers a clean and roomy packing area, several sofas, tables and benches, a large counter for manifest including a little shop and a pool table.
Talking about manifest, it runs completely online, so you can manifest yourself using you smartphone and the Burble APP. The wireless is fast, just as a sidenote for those who cannot live without their mobile devices, even on the DZ. For those more old fashioned skydivers, don’t worry, you can still manifest with Sammy´s wife Iva and check your load on a silver screen in the hangar.
However this is just the beginning. Next to the primary landing zone Sammy wants to erect a building serving the needs of skydivers better than the hangar.
As he wants to turn his dropzone into a world class training facility for all disciplines of skydiving, the new building should include team and judges rooms, an air conditioned packing area, a bar and a restaurant, plus a store and all other necessary facilities. A important first step turning his dropzone into a world class skydiving place is already on the way. The 2nd FAI World Cup of Wingsuit Flying will be held at Skydive Fyrosity November 1 - 9, 2017.
The 2nd FAI World Cup of Wingsuit Flying will be held at Skydive Ferocity, November 1 - 9, 2017
As the airport is located at the edge of Overton, a town with about 7.000 residents, hotels and restaurants for those who focus on skydiving are nearby. As it is just a little more than an hour to Las Vegas, you can actually see the hotels at the Las Vegas strip from altitude, there are also options for those who prefer a more exciting evening program. Talking about things to do, Lake Mead and the Valley of Fire is nearby. Lake Mead offers several water related activities from jet ski to motorboating, waterski and scuba diving. This is quite useful in the summer, as it gets up in the mid 105 F / 40°C. So one can skydive in the morning and spend the rest of the day one the lake. The lake is about 15 miles / 24 km away. So it's easy to see in freefall and under canopy. About the same distance away but much closer as the road forgoes back towards Overton is the Valley of Fire. This red sandstone formation, a Nevada State Park, offers stunning colors and beautiful rock formations. It's definitely worth a visit, but you will discover this yourself while in freefall. So if you do your first jump at this dropzone, consider a jump with on program, just enjoy the scenery, it´s worth it. And as your first jump with Skydive Fyrosity is free (!!), it is even more enjoyable. From your second jump on you have to pay 26 US-$ per jump. AADs are mandatory.
As your first jump with Skydive Fyrosity is free (!!) it is even more enjoyable
So if you are going to Las Vegas, for any reason whatsoever, take your rig with you if you have a day of and enjoy the great hospitality and the breathtaking views at Skydive Fyrosity.