When you visit Skydive Paraclete XP, there are plenty of things you’ll notice that’ll impress you: our top-notch facilities; our shiny fleet of fast aircraft; our hometown athletes’ thick stacks of medals, trophies, records, and accolades. One of the most impressive things you’ll notice, however–if we may–is the sheer volume of smiles in circulation at any given moment. Our Paraclete XP community vibe is beyond compare, and one of the biggest reasons for this–aside from all the great stuff that happens in and around our planes–is that we have a totally seasonless vertical “indoor skydiving” wind tunnel that helps to cement our tribe. Here’s how the wind tunnel removes the barriers to community.
Here’s a surprise for you: Not every skydiver is so freefall-mad that they’ll happily bundle up and bail out at full altitude in the dead of winter. Some–this author, for instance–would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the plane if it’s cold on the ground.
For seasonal skydivers, the wind tunnel is a revelation. No longer do we have to rock up to the dropzone in springtime with rust covering every last one of our bodyflight skills. In fact, wintertime provides the perfect opportunity to dig deeply into the subtle stuff–and to spend plenty of time socked into cozy corners of the “windytube” on beanbags with good friends, alternately sharing hot chocolate and flying minutes. Deep friendships are forged in deepest February, when the weather outside is frightful but the tube is soooooo delightful.
For folks who have packed daytime schedules, do shift work or have other wicked constraints on the ol’ schedule, opportunities to visit the dropzone can be fewer and farther between than they’d like. After all, skydiving is a daytime activity. Dropzone-facilitated, civilian night jumps are a rare beast indeed, even at a dropzone as busy as ours, and for many people, nighttime is the only free time to do–well–anything.
Here comes the tunnel to save the day! Not only is nighttime flying perfectly okay, it’s perfectly fabulous. Flying at night, when you’re well warmed up from the rigors of the day, feels really good. Plus, Paraclete XP has plenty of night-owl events–both recurring and one-off, from Membership Night to Youth League to tunnel meets–to get you hucking by the light of the moon. And most participants meet other folks in a similar situation and form happy little tunnel posses to get them through until the next triumphant dropzone day, whenever that may be.
There’s nothing like a good competition to stoke the fires of community spirit. Whether it’s a hometown meet or a travel-to event, the process of building, training with and summiting a podium alongside your team is one of the most connective moments our sport has to offer. The teams of Paraclete XP regularly send it at events worldwide, and our greater Paraclete XP family grows with each new athlete who arrives with gold-hungry stars in their eyes (and a heart of gold to match).
With those barrier-smashing qualities firmly in place, it’s no wonder that the tunnel reinforces our sport’s deep connections, weekend in and weekend out, season in and season out. Shared moments, shared spaces and shared events have allowed us to build a community that’s uniquely dynamic and strong.
And y’know what? We want you to be part of it. Book your first flight today!
My wife and I celebrated our 34th Anniversary by going Indoor Skydiving at ParacleteXP in Raeford, NC. We are in our 60's and this activity was safe, fun, and exciting. Dalton was our flight instructor and we recommend that you ask for him by name: He will guide you and have a great time with you in the wind tunnel.