So you want to try Indoor Skydiving???
First things first…What is it?
A wind tunnel is basically an airtight tube that pushes air through its column through the use of turbines. Indoor skydiving is a fairly new sport that has been growing exponentially since the 1980s. It has gained its most momentum in the last 5 or so years with the construction of more and more tunnels around the world. It is now a popular sport and activity for people of all ages and abilities due to its accessibility and safety.
Your First Time….
For your first time in the tunnel / indoor skydiving expect to have fun! When you check in for your session you will be assigned a Flight Instructor. Your instructor is there to teach you about the ins and outs of the tunnel and to keep you safe. You will get about a 10/15 min long class, all the gear you need and plenty of laughs and smiles. Once everyone is geared up you’ll head into the chamber. From here you are brought into the tunnel one at a time for usually about 2 mins a piece (depending on the package you purchased). The most common is a 2-minute first session that is broken into (2) 1 min sessions. Now I know what you’re thinking! “2 MINS!!! that is hardly any time at all.” However, 2 mins may feel like an eternity for some as it's a new and slightly intense feeling experience. Most facilities will allow you to add time to your experience if you feel like you can handle more. Which is extremely common.
The instructor that has been assigned to your class has gone through an intense 1-month training program (in most cases) to get their certification to bring you into the tunnel. From there they are constantly being trained and checked in order to make sure your experience is a safe and enjoyable one. One of the best things you can do is listen to your instructor. Trust them, they got you.
Some tips to make your experience an enjoyable one
-listen to your instructor
-keep your body controlled and movements small
-relax, have fun and smile
Though we call it Indoor Skydiving it is much much safer than the real thing. Here you simply fly your body without jumping from anything or the use of a parachute. However dangerous situations can arise if we ignore the instructions that are given to us by our instructor. Even in the event of a mistake, the instructor is highly trained to keep you safe. The walls are hard and typically made of glass or acrylic. Bumping them isn’t that bad, but accelerating into them is not fun at all — trust me I know from experience. But your first time is super mellow as long as you aren’t trying to huck a backflip or something stupid. Seriously don’t do anything stupid like that.
It's windy…super windy!!! It's almost like putting your hand out the car window on the highway, but with your whole body. The key to this whole thing is relaxing and trying to just float there. Some first timers complain about not being able to breathe in the tunnel, that usually due to being very tense and taking short strong breaths instead of relaxing and breathing slowly or looking down and getting a face full of air, but once you get comfortable in there it's amazing, but it is pretty physically demanding, though not a requirement the better shape you’re in the easier it will be on your body.
Who can do it?
Basically anyone. This activity is designed for ages 3+ and anyone that is in good health. The restrictions include a weight limit of 250-300lbs (depending on facility) and you must not be pregnant, have previous shoulder dislocations, or hard casts.
Did you love it?!? Here is the best way to keep doing it
If you are like a lot of people and you absolutely fall in love with this the best way to keep flying is to ask your instructor about private coaching. Most of the instructors do some private coaching and if not there are usually local flyers that coach privately. Facebook has a lot of group pages that specific to your local tunnel. Once you are able to fly proficiently there are all sorts of groups and ways to buy time in bulk that make it a little bit cheaper (it's expensive!) and more fun to fly. All in all its a super fun and exciting activity to get involved in. Definitely worth trying once, but I bet you’ll be back for more.
See you in the wind!
Wind Tunnel Instructor/Coach
and Full-Time Skydiver