group of people meet for tunnel league

6 Indoor Skydiving Stats You Never Knew

Friday, December 14, 2018

Indoor skydiving fascinates us. Let us show you why! These facts might just give you the same toe-tingling titillation they give us. (We hope so, at least.)

1) The first vertical wind tunnel was built back in 1940.

The first-ever vertical wind tunnel on record is the 20-Foot Vertical Spin Tunnel, which was constructed at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Completed in 1940, that wind tunnel had a top speed of approximately 58 mph, which was too slow for human flight – but that technology opened the door for the burly beasts we enjoy today. Thanks, NASA!

2) The speed of the air can be changed to suit each individual flyer.

The fans are capable of generating an internal wind speeds of just over 150 mph. The instructor operating the tunnel from the “drive room” controls the wind speed based on the flyer’s weight and skill level (and fine-tunes it with hand-signal feedback from the instructor in the tunnel.) This means, of course, that small folks — children, for instance — are not flown at anywhere near the top wind speed that the tunnel can generate.

3) We’re big, and that’s great.

Paraclete XP is one of the biggest indoor skydiving wind tunnels in the world — and certainly in the United States. Our tunnel measures a whopping 16’4″ in diameter (and 51’ in height). For experienced skydivers, this means loads of space for flying formations, as well as working on dynamic flying and freestyle routines. We’re one of the only places in the States where it’s even possible to train 8-way RW. Cool, huh?

4) Some people have their very own indoor skydiving wind tunnels.

Okay, VERY FEW people have these, just like very few people have their own spaceships. That said: this wind tunnel in Nad El Sheba in the United Arab Emirates was built by Skyventure for a private owner. We’d like to have that kind of money — but if we did, we’d probably just buy a nice Chesterfield or an Ottoman.

5) There are multiple competition disciplines in indoor skydiving.

If you thought that indoor skydiving could only possibly be done one or two ways, you’d be very, very wrong, my friend. In fact, there are loads of ways to fly the windytube, and just as many ways to compete against other athletes throwing the same moves. Don’t believe us? Well: In 2018, the 3rd Annual Indoor Skydiving Championships were hosted in Bahrain. The 4th Indoor Skydiving Championships will be hosted in Belgium in 2020. Check out this list of indoor skydiving disciplines to familiarize yourself with the bounty. It’s jaw-dropping!

6) There’s more than one way to build a tunnel.

There are about 13 wind tunnel manufacturers located throughout the world. The most popular is SkyVenture (which is the make of the very recognizable iFly brand of tunnels, as well as Paraclete XP’s incredible XXL version). These manufacturers have introduced a wealth of ideas, some of which work better than others. Designs include Propeller Below, Propeller Above, Open Flow and Recirculating. The latter is the most modern, with the best comfort, smoothest air and most scaleable design. Our beautiful Paraclete XP is the very example of a recirculating tunnel, as shown on this webpage that demonstrates the different designs.

We’re the very example of tunnel finery in lots of ways, as a matter of fact! Shall we demonstrate them to you? We’d love to! Come and visit us today.

The entire staff is extraordinarily professional and gracious. They are extremely safety conscious while at the same time giving everyone as much freedom as they can safely manage. A rare combination. While we (adults) were there, our instructor also suited up and trained a 2-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl.

Jack Berry