Have you ever been on a circular carnival ride that spins so fast the centrifugal force makes you feel weightless? That’s the zero gravity ride, and one common misconception of indoor skydiving is that it replicates a zero gravity experience. Although they’re similar, the wind tunnel experience doesn’t give you that weird feeling like after the carnival ride. Instead, it combines elements of weightlessness and flying!
Zero gravity is a state where there’s no apparent force of gravity felt on the physical body — the surroundings are freely and equally accelerating. There are more sophisticated rides you can opt for, other than the zero gravity ride at a carnival, include the 30-second, $5,000 ride in Newark, New Jersey.
A wind tunnel is the large tube of wind used during indoor skydiving, which generally is a freefall skydiving simulator in a circular chamber creating a column of air. The wind tunnel simulates the freefall portion of a traditional skydive, and it’s a great way to experience skydiving without jumping out of an actual plane.
The Zero G ride in New Jersey looks totally cool, but it isn’t accessible for most people. So how is our wind tunnel the closest thing to replicate a zero gravity ride? First, our wind tunnel chamber is very similar to a space-like environment. Second, zero gravity is a feeling of weightlessness. Although with the wind tunnel you’re stepping into a blast of air, you hover in the air once you orient yourself the wind — essentially feeling weightless!
We’re probably biased, so we asked a few friends and non-flying folks what they thought the differences between zero gravity experiences and wind tunnel flying were. We compiled a list comparing all the experiences:
|Indoor Skydiving||Zero G Experience||Carnival Zero Gravity Ride|
|Weightless Feeling||Yes||Yes||Sort Of|
|Time of Experience||2 Minutes*||6 times, approximately 20-30 seconds for 1 flight||Approximately 2 minutes|
|Cost||$64*||$5,400 + 5% tax||Minimal, but varies|
|Ages that Can Fly||Minimum 3 years old||Minimum 8 years old||Must be 42” tall|
|Availability||Open 7 Days A Week by Reservation||Currently Not Operating||Only When Carnivals Come to Town|
*You can purchase more flying time the same day if availability allows
Indoor skydiving offers the best zero gravity replication at an affordable price. If you’re looking for a wind tunnel near you, Paraclete XP Indoor is located in Raeford, NC and serves Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, and the Atlanta areas. If you’re visiting, or if one of those cities is your home, we welcome you to check us out!