What is Indoor Skydiving?
What it's like to try indoor skydiving for the first time, how much does it cost and who can participate.
Are you curious about what it feels like to fly? Have you ever wanted to experience the thrill of skydiving, but without the risks involved with jumping out of an airplane? Indoor skydiving is a great way for anyone to safely get a taste of what flying through the air can be like. Here are some key points about indoor skydiving that will help you decide if it’s something worth trying:
- Indoor skydiving provides a thrilling simulation of freefalling without having to jump from an aircraft.
- A powerful column of wind allows participants to freely and effortlessly control their movements in midair, just as if they were really flying.
- It’s safe, fun and exciting – perfect for anyone looking for an adrenaline rush!
Overview of the Indoor Skydiving Experience
Indoor skydiving is an activity that almost anyone can partake in. From children to 90-year-old grandmas to people with disabilities, indoor skydiving is incredibly accessible for people from all walks of life. As the sport progresses, we are now even seeing professional indoor skydiving competitions for people with disabilities.
During a first flight experience, you will first be guided by a rated safety instructor through all the necessary classroom information before being given your indoor skydiving gear.
Wearing the right gear is extremely important as it can massively affect your experience. Normally, that includes an indoor skydiving jumpsuit, goggles, a helmet, and earplugs (for the noise). Once you’re geared up, your instructor will guide you through to the wind tunnel where you’ll wait for instructions to enter the tunnel.
During the Flight
Inside the tunnel, there is a vertical column of wind, created by a propeller. Once you step inside, your instructor provides a safe 1-on-1 flying experience, guiding and teaching you how to fly your body within the airflow.
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 its 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?
What does indoor skydiving feel like?
When you first step into the tunnel, the thing that is most surprising is the power of the airflow. People tend to underestimate how much upward wind force it takes to equal the force of gravity and how this feels on the body.
Of course, there’s no pain or discomfort when flying, but you can feel the wind pushing on all the different parts of your body.
You’ll very quickly notice that any small movements you make with your body vastly affect the way the air flows around you, causing you to move within the tunnel. This is why all first-time flyers are accompanied by a qualified instructor to help correct these movements and signal adjustments you should be making with your body.
And there’s another thing you’ll notice pretty quickly… we say signal because if your instructor was to try to tell you what to do inside the tunnel, you probably wouldn’t hear a thing. This is due to the incredible speeds that the air reaches as it flows through the tunnel and passes over the propeller blades and various other surfaces, causing quite a bit of noise.
But after the first few seconds, you’ll forget about all of this as you become overwhelmed by the feeling of freedom. Flying is an experience like no other and unless you try it, you’ll never know!
How Indoor Skydiving is Different to Outdoor Skydiving
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.
How Much does it Cost to go Indoor Skydiving?
A first-time indoor skydiving experience usually costs between $40-$100. Buying packages of multiple flights for one person or family and family packages can make it much cheaper and we would definitely recommend doing this if you can.
Indoor skydiving prices may seem somewhat expensive, but as we explain in our article, Do you Think Indoor Skydiving is too Expensive?, when you consider the total flight time, indoor skydiving is only a fraction of the cost of outdoor skydiving.
In fact, this is what makes indoor skydiving such a great option for regular outdoor skydivers to train for taking their Accelerated Freefall (AFF) course or preparing for competitions.
Indoor Skydiving is More than a Thrill Ride
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.
Find a Wind Tunnel Anywhere in the World
There are many types of wind tunnels all around the world. As the technology keeps improving, more indoor skydiving centers are being opened, making the sport widely accessible to people around the world. At the time of writing, there are more than 200 wind tunnels open to the public.
At ISS, we’re dedicated to keeping an up-to-date database of all these locations so that anyone can look for tunnels and book indoor skydiving experiences as seamlessly as possible. Try our search tool to find a tunnel near you.
We also have an entire section dedicated to advanced wind tunnel topics for those interested in the mechanical side of vertical wind tunnels.
Published: June 5, 2014 | Last Updated: January 23, 2023
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