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“Great team, epic experience!”
Review of Fly Paragliding - CLOSED

Fly Paragliding
Attraction details
Reviewed 2 February 2014 via mobile

As this was my fist time paragliding I didn't have any idea what to expect but what happened was beyond my wildest expectations!

I thought there would be a sense of free fall as we took off (similar to a bungee or skydive) but actually the feeling was that of being lifted into the air by the wind!

If you are going I do paragliding in Queenstown make sure you do it from Corronet peak as the view over the Remarkables is truly spectacular!

What was really good about 'fly paragliding' is they really made an effort to keep you in the air as long as possible! People who took off before and after us just headed straight for the landing zone but we managed to stay up probably twice as long as we hunted out thermals!

As with all extreme sports nowadays every one is keen to get proof of their exploits and fly paragliding didn't disappoint! GoPro pictures (included) and video ($40 extra) were top quality and you get to control the process yourself so you can make sure you get the shots you want!

All in all an epic experience that I would recommend to anyone! While it may be a 'softer' option to a bungee/skydive I can genuinely say I enjoyed it more as you had time to look around and really enjoy the view and the sensation of flying!

Thank Traveler-Mark-89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (32)
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5 - 9 of 32 reviews

Reviewed 20 January 2014

First, for those of you with short attention spans that won’t read this review all the way through, let me just say that my tandem flight with Fly Paragliding was totally righteous and awesomely epic! Truly a 5 star experience. Now, the particulars as to why it was so awesome…

My trip to New Zealand was scheduled for December of 2013, so I started making plans for it in late October. After reading Trip Advisor (TA) reviews for the Queenstown paragliding outfits, I narrowed the field down to four and sent out enquiries to those four all at the same time. Fly Paragliding (Fly) was the first to respond, in less than 10 hours. Another outfit responded a day later, but they launch from the top of the gondola in town, and I wanted to fly over a more scenic venue, so that outfit dropped out. The third response came another day after that, and the fourth outfit never responded at all, so they were eliminated based upon poor (or none at all) customer service. So Fly won the Response Time award straight away.

Communicating via email with Jim Rooney, the owner of Fly, was a blast. He’s very energetic, helpful, accommodating, and just a real fun guy. He even pointed out that by making my payment through the Rydges hotel (where I was staying) would get me a discount off his price. Again, what a great guy! Fly wins the Communication award hands down.

The day of the flight arrived, and after a small SNAFU regarding the pick-up point (which was arranged by the hotel concierge and not Fly, so it was not Fly’s fault), we were off. After a couple stops for photo ops along the way and a quick briefing as to how we would launch and other in-flight particulars, we were up in the air. Out of the three other customers on the trip, I won the lottery and got Jim as my pilot, and he was a fantastic one!

During booking, I had asked Jim what time of day would net the most airtime, and he suggested an evening flight. At 6:00 on the evening of the 19th of December, the weather was superb - a cloudless sky, light wind, and steady updrafts. Flight times for the various outfits I had researched were advertised as being anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes long, but from the timestamps of the photos and video of my flight, we were airborne for over 28 minutes! Jim and his other pilots know where all of the uplifts of the Coronet Peak ski area launch point are, and all four of us were treated to extra-long flights. So if your schedule allows it, book a late afternoon or early evening flight. Fly wins the Experience/Knowledge award handily.

We soared over Steiger’s Point and the ridge several times at about 3,000 feet above the landing zone, back and forth between the launch point and the landing zone a few miles to the east. Whenever we’d drop below the ridge, Jim would pull us back in front of it and we’d shoot up several hundred feet in seconds. It was so cool, going ballistic like that again and again! I had asked Jim during our email exchanges if I could take a turn at the controls of the wing, and also get some thrills in during the flight. True to his word and just as his website promised, after a short course in how to fly the parapente, he handed over the toggles to me, and the wing was “my aircraft” for about 5 minutes. So cool! I have to have one now…

Jim then took the wing back and we played “nap of the earth” soaring at (and below) the level of the ridge, cutting back and forth in front of it and over it and back again, now clearing Steiger’s Point by mere meters. It was like something straight out of Top Gun - I could reach out and almost touch the ridge top and the tops of the pines! This was real paragliding, even more so than I had imagined it would be! But there was more to come…

As it came time to come down, Jim positioned us over the landing field at an altitude of about 2,000 feet, and then confirmed that I wanted some real thrills. I hollered “YEAH!” He handed me the GoPro video stick, then he pulled down hard on both toggles, bringing the wing to a complete standstill and we dropped fast. Then we went into a pendulum routine wherein after a few increasingly big sweeps from side to side, we inverted the wing (this is proved by the video – unbelievably, we are upside down against the horizon)! This was immediately followed by going into a high velocity flat spin. It was just like those astronaut training programs where they spin the guy around and around in that big centrifuge machine that you see in the movies. Jim stopped it after three revolutions, and I’m glad he did cuz I think I would have hurled on the fourth! The video of this is just crazy – the horizon is spinning around in circles at the perimeter of the frame! Every time I watch this portion of the flight, it makes my stomach turn (in a good way!). When we finally touched down with a perfect stand-up, no-step landing, I had one of the worst cases of the “whirlies” since my college drinking days, but it was SO worth it! This was truly a great experience, tons of fun, and never to be forgotten. Fly effortlessly takes the I Had a Freak’n Awesome Great Time award!

Jim pulled out his laptop and threw in the card from his GoPro so I could view the videos and stills while he packed up the wing. Unlike what I had read in TA reviews about some of the other outfits where there is HUGE pressure to buy the video they shoot of you, Jim had just one simple question when I was done watching: “So, do you want the video?” Of course I had to have it (even though I had taken my own video and stills with my own GoPro), and at half the price of what the other outfits were charging, I’d be a fool not to buy it. The high resolution of the stills is perfect for screensavers, and the quality and content of the videos is really so good that you’ll just have to have them, even if you shot your own! It was a no brainer purchase if ever there was one. Fly snatches the No-Pressure Sell award.

Out of all the TA reviews I had read about Fly, only one was negative. From what I could tell about the guy that wrote it, it appeared as if he was not a fan of small businesses. Jim’s is a small business, but if you want to be treated like cattle and herded through your flight, then go ahead and sign up with one of the other big outfits in town. But if you want personal attention to your requests, enthusiastic pilots that love what they do for a living, great customer service, and excellent value for the price, then Fly Paragliding is the only place to go. After all, this is YOUR experience! Fly handily snaps up the Customer Satisfaction award.

And if you’re ever in the Washington, DC area in the North American summer, Jim told me he also has a tandem hang gliding business there. I plan to look him up when I visit my parents there next summer!

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
1  Thank Sobo1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jim R, Operations Manager at Fly Paragliding, responded to this reviewResponded 24 January 2014

Paul, wicked flying with ya mate.
I'm so happy that the weather lined up and we were able to have such a good flight.
Coronet's such a fantastic mountain to fly.
Thanks for your kind words and I look forward to seeing you and your family in DC.

Safe travels
Jim

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2014

We were fortunate to have a beautiful, sunny & breezy day (Great for lots of lift & time in the air). Unlike bungee-jumping (which was also a cool experience) we were in the air for nearly 10 minutes each flight. Amazing experience. I would definitely recommend these guys.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank Jeff G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2014

It was my 1st paragliding experience and flying with them is just amazing. The crew are friendly and helpful. You will never get bored throughout the whole journey. There are a few stops for photo taking as well and it is absolutely valued for money.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank Irene T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2014

managed to get lucky with a warm cloudless day! started with photo-stops at the cavell bridge and near skippers canyon road; the views of the wakatipu basin were unreal and the whole experience was very smooth and heaps of fun.. massive buzz for the entire time spent in the air! big thanks to the team at fly and will hope to see you again at some point :)

Thank scottyross86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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