Posted in Knowledge on June 5, 2014
Have you ever dreamt of flying? Have you ever wanted to experience the thrill of skydiving, but didn't want to commit to jumping out of an airplane? Almost everyone wants to fly, and flying your body in a column of wind is one of the purest forms of flight there is. It allows you to freely fly your body and effortlessly control your movements.
Indoor skydiving is an activity that almost anyone can partake in. Participants wear gear that includes a jumpsuit, goggles, a helmet, eye protection, and earplugs (for the noise). Each participant will fly within a column of wind created by a vertical wind tunnel. Flyers are accompanied by a rated safety instructor that helps flyers learn to control their bodies within the airflow.
During a first flight experience you will be guided by an instructor through all the necessary classroom information, given your flight gear, and taken into the wind tunnel. Once in the tunnel your instructor provides a safe 1-on-1 flying experience, guiding and teaching you how to fly your body. Once you have flown, your next flight will be less guided as you begin to grasp the concepts behind safely flying your body. Higher levels of learning are normally done with a tunnel coach and organized learning events are taking place in tunnels all over.
Flyers of nearly every age can fly. We recommend 4 or 5 years old as a minimum, but each tunnel has their own rules. The only real limitations preventing people from flying are weight limits and shoulder dislocations. Countless handicapped and physically challenged flyers have safely flown with the help of experienced instructors. We cover everything in our article: Who Can Fly?
Indoor skydiving gets its name from the thrill-seeking sport of skydiving, but the similarities between the two are actually very few. A vertical wind tunnel creates the needed vertical wind flow for indoor skydiving. This simulates the conditions found in freefall without the need to jump from a great height. Because the wind tunnel environment is very controlled compared to the traditional freefall of a skydive, a wider range of flyers can take part in the experience.
Skydiving being an outdoor activity is seasonal, and even during favorable seasons, conditions such as the wind, rain, or snow can cancel your plans to jump. Indoor skydiving is amazing because in most cases it removes weather from the picture. Most modern wind tunnels are closed loop recirculating designs. This means that no matter the outside weather, the wind tunnel is a comfortable place to fly.
A normal skydive from 13,000 feet lasts between 45-60 seconds. Typical first-time indoor skydiving flights last between 2 and 5 minutes, giving you much more flying time than a traditional skydive. The ready access to much larger amounts of time gives you a chance to safely learn how to control your body.
While most people associate skydiving with a thrill or bucket list activity, indoor skydiving is much more than that! Because people of all ages can fly, and fly as much as they like, indoor skydiving is becoming a worldwide sport. As of 2014, indoor skydiving was even recognized by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) and now FAI competitions are taking place around the world.
There are many types of wind tunnels, the technology keeps improving, and this is creating safe and comfortable experiences for all flyers. We have an entire section dedicated to advanced wind tunnel topics for those interested in the mechanical side of vertical wind tunnels.
Indoor Skydiving Source keeps an up to date database of all the wind tunnel locations around the world.