A Wig and a Prayer
This is no one-shot deal. The Flying Elvi were the birth child of Andy Bergman, WriterDirector of the movie “Honeymoon in Vegas“. He solicited the help of a professional skydiving team from Las Vegas, NV for his movie. There was no trick photography used when the ten men had to jump from 12,000 feet and land in a small parking lot lined with thousands of people.
Hey, that sounds a lot like what happened in Indianapolis when the Hoosier Lottery was kicking off the scratch-off game, Instant Keno. Ten men dressed as Elvis Presley jumped from an airplane and landed on Pan Am Plaza in downtown Indianapolis. Thousands of people flocked to the Plaza and watched the spectacle with amazement. Each person marveled at how easy the men made the jump, and more importantly the landing. After landing safely, the Elvi switched costumes, grabbed their guitars and jumped on stage to perform. The media coverage was fantastic. WISH-TV channel 8 newsman Ray Rice said “it was a great gimmick and a super show“.
Since their initiation on the silver screen almost 20 years ago, The Flying Elvi have performed at more than 1,000 events in 42 states as well as the Bahamas and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
They’ve completed jumps in the day and night. Some of their highlights include the inaugural race at the Texas Motor Speedway and delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut via parachute into Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Even though they are very good at what they do, they haven’t quit their day jobs. On the ten member crew, two are teachers, one a health inspector, welder, free-fall camera man, pilot, commercial builder, realtor, truck driver, sky diving instructor, contracting business owner, and a newspaper writer.
The average number of jumps for each individual Elvi member is an incredible 3,000!
One member has recorded more than 7,000 jumps. They usually jump from approximately 21/2 miles in the sky and drop at a rate of 176 feet per second (or 120 mph). When their parachute opens they slow to 10 to 15 feet per second.
The Elvi considered the downtown Las Vegas Fremont Street jump the most difficult. Due to new construction it was a jump that can not be repeated. At the time they had several challenges. For example they were jumping at night and landing in an area surrounded by tall buildings. The narrow street only allowed 60 feet of open space to dive into. When you consider the parachute consumes 22 feet of that 60 foot window they didn’t have much air cushion. Oh, and there were thousands of people watching the event to avoid during the landing.