Letter from the Editors — Fall 2023



It takes a careful balancing act to marry the traditional values of aerial adventure and education with the increasing digitization of modern life. The two often compete for share of mind and participation. Yet as people spend more time with digital devices, their appreciation for outdoor activity has grown. Attraction to the natural world remains strong.

This act is currently playing out in a new arena, artificial intelligence. AI has the power to ease the management of aerial adventure operations and programs, and to help operators reach a greater audience. But it could also become just another tool (or overlord) that distracts users from venturing out of their indoor comfort zones, or worse, spur a zombie apocalypse.

In “Be Smart with Artificial Intelligence” (p. 54), we look at some of the many ways this developing technology can benefit operators, and caution about a few of the ways AI can go wrong. It’s a fast-moving field and development has barely started, but already, operators throughout the aerial adventure world have been exploring productive uses, some of which are presented here. It’s an arena that we, along with many others, will be watching carefully.

Of course, there’s a lot more than AI on the priority list. We address several of those items in this issue, from increasing repeat business (“Please, Come Back” p. 18) to ensuring your operation is functioning as smoothly as possible (“How Are We Doing?” on p. 46, and “It’s Just Business” on p. 36). As always, we strive to keep you informed about developments and news on risk management (“Legal Challenges of Self-Guided Activities” p. 14) and business conditions (“Weathering the Summer of ’23” p. 10) as well as products and activities (“What’s Happening with Free Falls” p. 24).

And, since this is very much a people business, we highlight two of its leading figures (Erik and Jen Marter, “Builder Profile: Perfect Synergy” p. 50) and several future leaders (“Rising Stars” p. 42). The Marters’ story reflects the growth and evolution of aerial adventure; all provide thoughtful insights on the present and future course of the industry—and on the things that make aerial adventure so meaningful in an increasingly digital world.

—The Editors


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