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Old 03-05-2008, 05:46 PM
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msharmanshaw msharmanshaw is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
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Hey DAP..it's the husband here..Long post, hope you're ready:

The Dragon's Breath flight line was both scary and fun; honestly it was absolutely amazing and one of the highlights of the entire trip. My son and I are already planning on a second flight when we go back to Haiti this December. This time however we will have the new helmet cam with us (my wife is convinced I bought it just for this!). We do have some great pics from the excursion so if you want to email us I'll be happy to send them to you. You can also see several videos of others "flights" on YouTube. Just type in "Dragon's Breath" and enjoy. I think there is about 10 or so videos (some are better than others).

We originally were going to book it before the cruise but were hesitant and actually didn't even sign up until we were on the island. I can tell you if you go this route book early as we recieved one of the last remaining spots of the day. You start off at the flight center at your appointed time, sign your waiver, and wait for your group to assemble. In our group of 15 my son and two other teens were the youngest and it varied all the way up to someone's 60th birthday. Every "shape and size" and age group was represented. The only set back we had was a few members of our group did not speak very good English however the instructors translated very well. They were VERY knowlegable and did thier best to make sure everyone in the group was comfortable with what was to follow (not to mention female, from Australia, and were very easily able to keep my 15 year old's attention the ENTIRE time.)

You are issued a harness and strapped in during the brief. Being ex-military the straps seem a little thin but trust me, I'm a big guy, they'll hold. You then take a short walk (lot's of stairs) to the "Little Dragon" for a practice jump. The platform here is identical to the setup higher on the mountain and the team goes over all of the safety and jump procedures once again. This setup has 4 lines and you move through the exercise fairly quickly providing eveyone in the group is paying attention. I must say that the jump teams take thier jobs very seriously but make sure everyone has fun. Although they explain the "brake procedure" it was alot more than I was expecting on the first jump, it slings you back a bit so hold on tight.

After everyone is done your board a "Jeep" and drive down the beach to a checkpoint. Once through the gate, you see a little bit of the real Haiti before heading up the mountain. It was an eye opening experience for my 15 year old to see it. As you look forward of the jeep you see a road that goes up, not just up, but STRAIGHT UP. the driver revs the engine and the land rover climbs it with ease. If you can sit on the left side of the jeep; about halfway up the mountain you can see a portion of rail that has been repaired and if you look down (I dare you!) you'll see a big red bus twisted among the trees below you. My son held on a little tighter after that. The ride up is not bad at all and you have an amazing view of EVERYTHING at the top so have your camera ready. You break out of the treeline and into a guarded parking area and you can see the tower bridge directly in front of you.

You walk up the plank and out onto the tower, the view from the top is UNREAL and absoultly BREATHTAKING. This is the point where you look down and realize just how high you are. The bigger tower has 5 lines and depending on wind conditions, size, and weight they will tell you to "starfish or torpedo" make sure you listen to these instructions because this is what determines just how fast you go. Come in too "hot" and you're in for a good jolt at the end of the run. You are again divided into launch groups and assigned a "run". When it is your turn you are safety strapped to the platform and step out to the area with no safety rail in front of you. It is at this point where several members of our group pondered not making the jump but the "collective" convinced them otherwise. When you are up there, there is NOTHING between you and the front of the platform and it is a total adrenaline rush. You "sit" into your harness (inside tip: sit once and then adjust, lots of straps in odd places, need I say more?) and are secured to the launching system and prepared for release. When it's your turn you are given final instructions and released.

The first few seconds are totally frightening but that goes away in a matter of moments. You reach about 55mph VERY quickly and besides the whirling of the guidewheels, it's just you, the ocean, and the wind. Once you settle in and start taking in the expierence it is totally exilerating. At about the halfway point I saw the person on the line next to me hit the landing zone and as thier feet touched the water I realized it was high tide. Yup, I'm getting wet. If you're light no worries, but like I said I'm a big guy and my feet were kissing the surf at the bottom, it was actually kind of neat and I couldn't help but enjoy it. The brakes again give you a jolt at the bottom and there is SO MUCH adreniline piping through you you can't help but jump off the line and start slapping everyone high fives.

Hope this post helps you and others who are hesitant; do not miss out on this once in a lifetime expierence.
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