A Different Type of Skydiving Experience
If you want to experience skydiving but are concerned about the safety of jumping off a plane, you should try out the wind tunnels. The wind tunnel is an indoor room with fake winds that simulate the feeling of a freefall skydive. The entire process is much safer, because if a person falls, they only fall a few feet to the floor of the room, rather than tens of thousands of feet that a skydiver would fall out of a sky. With the winds, a person could skydive around and around within the confines of the room, and up and down from the ceiling to the floor. The wind tunnel is also a good place to practice skydiving skills. It's less expensive than real skydiving and it lasts longer than the freefall in a typical skydive. If there is a problem, the instructor can help you out of the room- you're not stuck hurtling through the sky.
My husband is in the midst of his skydive training jumps- the real type of skydiving, where he jumps off a plane, and pulls a parachute to land. During the course of his training, he has been having some difficulties with keeping the proper body position, remaining stable to maintain heading, and starting and stopping turns. Therefore, his instructors recommended that he practice within the safer confines of the indoor skydiving wind tunnels. The wind tunnel mimics the accelerated freefall. For less money, he can practice for longer, and also be safer while practicing.
The following is his personal experience with indoor skydiving in the wind tunnel.
Photo licensed under Creative Commons, Credit: Justin and Elise on Flickr- Source
Taking the advice of one of my skydive instructors, I went to New Hampshire to skydive in the wind tunnel. I went with one of my customers- he drove most of the time, both ways, while I used a laptop to take care of some work for him, as well as for other customers.
We got there earlier than expected, and I paid $190 for a ten minute block and a video. I met my instructor about 20 minutes before we were scheduled to go into the wind tunnel. He gave us each a jumpsuit and a helmet. I did not need goggles, because I had brought along the goggles that I use when I skydive.
I had my altimeter with me, because I wanted to make it more real, but he was adamant that I take it off. He said that it could fall off, and he did not want me to wear it. So I took it off, and I put it in one of the lockers, which they offered for free as a courtesy. We went over the training, and he told us the basics of the body position.
I told him that I would give my customer two and a half minutes, from the ten minutes that I had purchased.
We ended up agreeing on the following sequence:
- I would go in for two and a half minutes,
- then he would go in for about one and a quarter minutes
- then I would go in again for two and a half minutes
- then he would go in for another one a quarter minutes
- and then I would go in for the final two and a half minutes.
Photo (Credit: Justin and Elise on Flickr) Source
I went in first, and in the beginning I didn’t do well. It’s different from regular skydiving, because in real skydiving there are no walls- but the wind tunnel had walls, so I was trying to avoid bumping into the walls while flying.
In the beginning, I flew, and as I was trying to avoid bumping into the walls, I ended up flipping over onto my back. I flew for a few seconds on my back, and then he flipped me over. This is the first time that I have ever flown on my back.
Then he took me to the exit even though the 2 ½ minutes were not yet over, and he had them shut down the wind, because he noticed that I was wearing my Q-link necklace. He insisted that I take that off and put it into the cooler. They had a cooler there for storing small objects, because if an item is left on the floor or the bench, then it could fly into the wind tunnel. I took off my helmet and necklace, put my helmet back on, and went back in.
I told him that in the beginning, I want to practice maintaining the heading, and then later, towards the end, I want to practice turning.
After the first few minutes was done, he took me out, my customer went in, and then I went in again, and practiced maintaining the heading. I did pretty well, and then I went back out, and my customer went back in.
My customer almost passed out towards the end, because he forgot to breathe. This was the first time that he was flying. He never did a skydive in his life, and it was the first time in a wind tunnel for him.
Then I went back in, and practiced my turns, I did some turns, mostly did ok, and before we knew it, the time was up.
I went out, took off the jumpsuit, helmet and goggles, went to the locker, got my stuff, and shortly thereafter, left New Hampshire and went back home.
Photo of Indoor skydiving (Credit: AMagill on Flickr) Source
Training For My Next AFF Level 5 Skydive
My Skydiving Plans
Overall, it was a good experience.
However, in the foreseeable future, I am not planning to go back to the wind tunnel, or do more than just a few minutes at a time of skydiving indoors. Due to my shoulder injury, the wind tunnel was a lot more intense than a skydive, and I can still feel mild pain in my shoulder. Therefore, if I go back to the wind tunnel, it would probably be for less time. Or, perhaps I will be able to perform certain exercises before I go in, that will help ease the shoulder pain.
Either way, going forward, I’m going to try to focus on real skydiving. My next goal is to pass skydive training level 5. I mainly need to do two 360 degree turns, one right and one left. Hopefully, now that I have the wind tunnel experience and my previous skydiving experience, I will be able to pull it off on the first try. If not, I’ll try a few more times.
Photo of Indoor skydiving (Credit: AMagill on Flickr.com) Source
Skydiving- The Real Kind- With Parachuting!
Don’t forget to check out the below links to my articles- detailing my real skydive jumps, from tandem, to levels one, two, three, and four, some of them done multiple times.
Soon, I plan to go on to level 5 and post more articles about future jumps as well. Come back for updates!
Photo Credit: Justin and Elise on Flickr: Source