Tunnel Talk

Caracas Fly – The 1st and Only Indoor Skydiving Wind Tunnel in Venezuela

For the first issue of our monthly column spotlighting wind tunnels around the world, we heard from Caracas Fly, Venezuela’s first indoor skydiving tunnel! 

Caracas Fly Indoor Skydiving Venezuela

Image Credit: Instagram: @caracasfly

September 21, 2022
Owen Clarke

The indoor skydiving world is constantly growing (and so is our wind tunnel database). So, we’ve decided to start a new series here at Indoor Skydiving Source! In “Tunnel Talk” we’ll interview wind tunnel operators from around the world, learning about how and why they brought their tunnels to life. For the inaugural issue of this column, we spoke with Gian Carlo of Caracas Fly, Venezuela’s first wind tunnel!

Although Caracas Fly, the first and only wind tunnel in Venezuela, just opened this June, the idea for building a Venezuelan wind tunnel actually started way back in 2005, according to Carlo, the tunnel’s General Manager.

“This was back when we had only SkyVenture and the one in Europe,” Carlo told ISS. “So I hired engineers from the best university in Venezuela to copy and do a better, non-recirculating, SkyVenture design here in Venezuela.” Although the team of engineers succeeded in coming up with a viable tunnel design, Carlo ran into a wall when it came to funding. He just couldn’t secure reliable backers for the project.

Carlo dreamed of bringing a tunnel to Venezuela not just to offer a bodyflight location for the country, but because Venezuela’s subsidized energy made the project extremely viable. “I wanted to build the tunnel in Venezuela because energy here [was] free [at] that time,” he said. “I had many opportunities, and found different investors, a couple of times almost made it happen…”

But ultimately, the project fell through, and fell through, and fell through again. This continued for over a decade.

Eventually, however, Carlo’s persistence paid off, and the growth of the indoor skydiving industry worldwide began to prove to investors that a wind tunnel was a viable enterprise. “In 2016, finally I found a group of investors that believed in me and the project,” he said, “and that’s how it really started going.”

He chose to build the wind tunnel with Spanish manufacturer EYDISA, a newcomer to the tunnel scene. Though the Madrid-based construction company was founded in 1983, they didn’t begin building their first wind tunnel location, Madrid Fly, until 2014. The tunnel was the largest in Europe at the time of its construction. EYDISA is helmed in part by former skydiving World Champion Alberto Fuertes. “I chose EYDISA to build the tunnel because Alberto is my good friend, and I think they are on the top of quality,” Carlo said.

 

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“It was a very challenging project,” Fuertes told ISS of the Caracas Fly tunnel’s construction. The hardest part about the whole process was that Carlo and his team had to assemble the entire tunnel all by themselves. This was in the early days of the COVID pandemic, so no one from the EYDISA team could travel to Venezuela to assist them because of lockdowns. Fuertes and EYDISA were only able to supervise the construction process remotely, via video and voice calls.

This really threw Carlo for a loop at first, but eventually, all his hard work paid off. Even in Fuertes’ opinion, “the project was very successful,” despite the fact that no one from EYDISA was on the ground during the entire process. He added that “Caracas Fly even has a much better tunnel than Madrid Fly. The airflow and noise level have been improved a lot, and the final design looks fantastic.”

“Now in 2022, it’s a fact!” Carlo said. “The tunnel is ready, has super nice air, and people from all over the world are starting to come. We are fully booked, and we are the best, biggest, and cheapest tunnel in the region!

 

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The 15-foot (4.6 m) recirculating tunnel isn’t just Venezuela’s first wind tunnel, it’s one of the few wind tunnels open on the South American continent. Others include the privately-operated Brazilian tunnel Wind Up, along with iFLYs in Brasília and São Paulo. Vuela, operating out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the only other South American tunnel in our database.

In addition to the tunnel facilities, Caracas Fly is attached to a full-service restaurant, CANTINA, which is set to open soon.

NOTE: At the time of our interview, Carlo noted that Caracas Fly’s initial opening went well, but the tunnel closed again temporarily to resolve a few remaining technical difficulties. The tunnel will open to the public again in early October.

Published: September 21, 2022 | Last Updated: September 21, 2022

Caracas Fly - The 1St And Only Indoor Skydiving Wind Tunnel In Venezuela
Written by,
Owen Clarke
Owen Clarke is an American action sports and adventure travel journalist. In addition to serving as an executive editor at Indoor Skydiving Source, he is an editor-at-large for Climbing magazine and lead writer for the adventure guiding outfitter Benegas Brothers Productions. He also writes for Backpacker, Outside, SKI, and Trail Runner, among other publications.

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