Launch - Flying High - March 2019

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On the “Fly Linq” zipline, guests can ride in seated or “Superman” positions as they zoom toward the “High Roller” observation wheel. (Credit: Caesars Entertainment)

Massive ‘Fly Linq’ Zipline Soars in Grand Las Vegas Style

by Keith Miller

It wasn’t long after the 1941 opening of the first hotel casino on the stretch of road in Las Vegas now known as The Strip that its identity became inexorably linked to doing everything in a grander, glitzier, and more stunning way than anywhere else. Now, that tradition continues with the opening of “Fly Linq,” a spectacular $20 million zipline array at The Linq Promenade, a dining, retail, and attractions corridor at The Linq Hotel & Casino.

Operated by Las Vegas giant Caesars Entertainment, which owns the hotel/casino and The Linq Promenade, the sprawling new attraction features 10 side-by-side ziplines that can dispatch all riders simultaneously. Better still, each rider gets to independently choose whether to fly in a seated posture or a head-first “Superman” position.

Launching from higher than 12 stories, riders whiz along at an average speed of 35 mph as they fly directly toward the gargantuan “High Roller,” one of the tallest observation wheels on Earth at 550 feet tall, positioned at the opposite end of The Linq. The views are dazzling along the 1,121-foot-long route as riders zoom over crowds below enjoying the open-air atmosphere of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. Even when the ride ends, flyers are still more than five stories above the ground.

Why a Zipline?

“The Linq Promenade is outdoors and is the only outdoor retail, dining, and attractions venue on the Strip, and people love that,” says Shaun Swanger, senior vice president of retail, leasing, and attractions for Caesars Entertainment. “The Promenade is 100 percent leased with a waiting list. We have no space on the ground, so [we thought] what can we put in the air? It started as a crazy idea, and then we did all the feasibility studies about the wind loading and whether the building can sustain the platform, and it all came back as ‘yes,’ so we did it!”   

Swanger notes that, incredibly, not once during the entire construction of “Fly Linq” did the entire Promenade have to be closed. Construction took place between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m., and on the nights when the 10 cables were installed, only certain parts of the Promenade were roped off. 

“It was a challenging construction process because ziplines are usually built in forests or at leisure parks, and here we decided to build one between two casinos!” he says. “It was a pretty smooth process and done in under a year. The big expense was primarily in the platforms and the 10 ziplines, plus the gear retrieval system, of course, which is quite innovative.”

One of the features contributing to “Fly Linq’s” $20 million price tag is its automated gear retrieval lines that rapidly return all riders’ gear to the launch station, preventing the need to manually transport gear back to the starting point. “It’s essentially carts that hang from the same suspension-type equipment that the riders do and literally just sends the equipment back,” he says. 

Caesars Entertainment worked on the design of the ride with Las Vegas-based Xventure LV, which specializes in high-capacity adventure rides located in urban locations. Swanger says the project group was “an A-1 team,” consisting of persons who had worked on “High Roller,” “SlotZilla” (a zipline attraction located over Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas), and many other theme park attractions. 

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“Fly Linq” features 10 side-by-side ziplines. (Credit: Caesars Entertainment)

High Flying

Guests begin their “Fly Linq” experience by taking an elevator at the base of the launch building to the top of the 12-story zipline tower. There, they have spectacular views of the Las Vegas Strip as they queue for gear-fitting and choose a flying position. 

Riders place all of their valuables into their own sturdy zippered bag attached to their harnesses. The bag accompanies them on the flight, preventing the need to return to the launch station afterward to retrieve personal items. The rider is then attached to the flight harness, which has a redundant safety feature in the form of three separate connection points to the zipline carrier.

The operations staff assists riders into their flight position, and their harnesses are connected to the zipline carriers. A few last-minute instructions precede the launch.

“We have an extremely detailed safety procedure in place. This is Caesars, and we take it seriously,” Swanger says of the safety protocols. “The rider is latched in three locations. One [employee] latches the rider, then a second comes and checks it, and then a third checks the whole row. Then, they release the riders.”

Swanger is pleased with how “Fly Linq” fits with the Linq Promenade, noting there’s no space for a roller coaster and, with millennials being a key target group, the ziplines are ideal. “We have live entertainment and we do an hour live light show on ‘High Roller’ every night, and it’s very loud,” he says. “And now with ‘Fly Linq,’ people just stop and watch the riders flying overhead!”

“Fly Linq” tickets start at $25 per person during the day and $30 at night, with bundle packages available that include “High Roller.” There is a minimum weight limit of 60 pounds per rider and a maximum of 300 pounds.

www.caesars.com/linq/fly-linq