The Skywalk is one of the greatest engineering marvels of the last fifty years. Businessman David Jin was originally inspired with the concept for the Skywalk in 1996 while taking a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. The majestic view inspired him to attempt to duplicate what he saw from the helicopter for others, and the initial idea for the Skywalk was born. He won approval from the Hualapai nation to begin construction in 2003. In March 2007, he and tribal representatives of the Hualapai nation were joined by astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the inaugural opening of the Skywalk.
GC Flight offers the best Grand Canyon helicopter tours around, and even they have to admit the Skywalk is something special. This architectural and engineering masterpiece weighs 1.2 million pounds and boasts a foundation that can support the weight of seventy-one fully loaded 747 airliners. This foundation would not be possible without the amazingly high compressive strength of the red limestone canyon walls, which can withstand pressure forces of up to sixteen thousand pounds per square inch.
The drilling for the foundations to create the Skywalk lasted a year and a half. Once that was done, eight concrete columns that support box beams were placed. Each box beam is six feet high, two and a half feet wide, and the walls are two inches thick. The box beams were fabricated in Utah and shipped to the Grand Canyon’s west rim, where they were placed.
Because of the Skywalk’s unique construction, it is designed to resist twisting and buckling forces and to keep from “galloping” in high winds. Although the glass which the floor of the Skywalk is made of can withstand the weight of approximately eight hundred grown adults, no more than one hundred twenty people are allowed on the Skywalk at any given time for safety reasons. The glass was recently replaced for the first time, using glass custom-manufactured in Spain.
Now, no one’s saying you’re going to get all the thrills of flying over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter on the Skywalk, but it’s still a unique and exciting way to appreciate the scale and grandeur of the Canyon for yourself. When you want to go and see for yourself, GC Flight has the best Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas, complete with all the great adventures and exploration you and your group could ask for. When you go to the Grand Canyon, go in style, and don’t forget to check out the Skywalk!