Indoor skydiving has been around for decades in some form or another. The original designs were little more than repurposed aircraft engines – upturned and covered with a net to provide a rudimentary flying area. While some saw the potential, there was resistance from “proper” skydivers that the whole thing was a novelty and should not be credited as having anything really useful to add when it came to the business of jumping out of airplanes.
Things change, though. Indoor skydiving proved both highly lucrative as a leisure business and incredibly substantive as a training tool. The short version is that people who used a wind tunnel to practice their flying skills got good – really good. It was undeniable there was a symbiotic relationship between indoor and outdoor skydiving that would only become stronger as the tunnel industry continued to grow.
Nowadays, there are many wind tunnel facilities around the world, and training procedure has developed to the point where some countries – primarily the USA – allow for indoor time (when trained by a suitable qualified USPA instructor) to be counted formally and progress the point of entry to skydiving.
You don’t have to, but doing so is a great plan. The training process for skydiving has been carefully designed and refined over many years to be efficient at teaching you everything required to go jump for the first time. However, when you have never done it before, leaping from an aircraft into freefall and then landing a parachute can be a nerve-jangling endeavor and it can feel like a lot to take onboard.
Nothing people normally do in their lives prepared them for how to fly in the sky until indoor skydiving came along. The freefall part of your first skydive is just one element of the whole thing, but finding stability with your body position is a key part of being allowed to progress. It is easy to imagine how much doing some tunnel time and practicing this part so you are ready for how it feels can ease your nerves.
Flying in the tunnel is nobody’s idea of cheap, and shelling out for coaching on top of tunnel time can feel extra expensive. Working with a good coach is well worth the money though, as what they can teach you in even a short amount of actual tunnel flying can be very valuable.
Tunnel training provides an environment where things can be microscopically examined and then processed into amazing precision. A good coach should not just be a skilled flyer, they should be able to recognize exactly what it is you require and help you get the absolute most out of every second in the flight chamber. If you are setting off on the journey to become a skydiver, make sure your coach knows this so they can focus on the correct priorities.
At the start, skydiving and tunnel flying look and feel the same – and they pretty much are. However, the more you do of both, the more you begin to notice the differences between the two environments. In basic terms, while flying indoors there are static reference points all around you, while in the sky you fly with dynamic references – other people who also move about. Tunnel training can and will very definitely make you good at flying your body, and will also help you develop both confidence and a solid awareness of your position in space to be ready for the openness of the sky.
Getting some tunnel training under your belt is the best thing you can do to prepare for your first skydives. Not every skydiver is into tunnel flying, and not every tunnel flyer is into skydiving but the crossover percentage is super high, and you will soon find yourself hanging out with the same faces at both the dropzone and the tunnel – having the time of your life. Contact us today to book your indoor skydiving experience.
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.