How Indoor Skydiving Works

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Indoor skydiving is one of the most important skydiving innovations of recent times. Here at Paraclete XP, we’re proud to have one of the largest wind tunnels in the world, capable of reaching higher speeds than most.

But how does indoor skydiving work, and why should you be interested? We explain here.

Simulating Freefall

The power of a wind tunnel all stems from the fans which generate the air. At Paraclete, we have four fans of 541 horsepower each. If you’re not sure what that means, take it from us – it’s a lot of power!

Those four fans are housed at the top of the building, generating wind which is then circulated down to the ground floor before being forced back up by the turning vanes which direct the airflow. The inlet compresses the air and creates the speed we need to fly.

All of this means that we can simulate the experience of free falling when you jump out of an airplane. Skydivers use wind tunnels for training purposes. We also welcome thousands of first-timers each year who come to experience skydiving indoors.

The History of Indoor Skydiving

Skydiving wind tunnels are what we call vertical wind tunnels (VWT). These differ from traditional horizontal wind tunnels which are used to test the aerodynamics of planes or cars.

The first person to fly in a vertical wind tunnel did so in 1964 in Ohio. It was a flight that started a new era for indoor body flight. The first wind tunnel intended for people to fly in was built in 1978 by John St Germain who wanted his children to experience freefall in what he considered to be a safer environment.

Since then, indoor skydiving has progressed significantly. Today’s wind tunnels are quieter, and the air is smoother and more powerful. In the case of Paraclete XP, the wind tunnel has transparent walls meaning spectators can watch as their friends and family fly.

indoor skydiving

Wind Tunnels and Skydiving

Wind tunnels weren’t always popular with skydivers. It took a few years for skydivers to accept indoor skydiving into their training plans. This is mainly because wind tunnels cannot simulate the ‘hill’ – that period just after exit where the relative wind comes from a forward direction rather than below – and much of the adrenaline of outdoor freefall is lost.

However, it soon became apparent that indoor skydiving could emulate the sensations of freefall and thus enable skydivers to practice what they’d then take to the sky. With a diameter of 16.4 feet, Paraclete XP is one of the world’s largest wind tunnels and is home to some of the country’s greatest skydiving teams.

Your Wind Tunnel Experience

Are you ready to experience indoor bodyflight? Book your flight today and start getting excited. You’ll be welcomed on the day by a member of our team, who will show you around the venue and let you watch some of the flyers already in the wind tunnel.

Then, you’ll be taken to prepare for your flight. You’ll be provided a jumpsuit to wear and given a short brief during which we’ll teach you about the body position you’ll need to adopt and how to exit the tunnel.

Thanks to our glass walls, your friends and family can watch you as you fly.

Perhaps indoor skydiving isn’t quite enough for you … why not choose our adventure package and experience both indoor and outdoor skydiving and decide for yourself which is best!


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My wife and I came here a day after our wedding for a little fun. We had a blast. We will be returning in the future. Dave was a great instructor.

Allen Kurtz