MISSION: EXPAND YOUR WORLD
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's—you!
Ever since there have been birds in the sky, men
and women have yearned to be right up there with
them. So far, the closest we can come to the
experience of our bodies in flight is skydiving.
A little airplane takes you up to 5000 feet, then you leap out the open door and plummet
toward the Earth at the speed of a rocket, flying unencumbered until you
pull the ripcord and open your parachute. It
does sound like fun. If only it weren’t for that
plummeting toward the Earth at the speed of a
Nowadays, you can
fly without the fear anytime you like thanks to
SkyVenture, which features a nifty little device
called a vertical wind tunnel. You can always
count on the U.S. military to come up with the
craziest adventure tools, and they thought up
the idea of flying indoors in 1964. Thirty-four
years later SkyVenture opened their first
commercial flight tunnel and $50 or less will
get you your first flight.
What to expect:
Arrive early in
your casual clothes and sneakers so that you can
watch other people flying from the observation
deck. Then you’ll meet your flight instructor
who will show you a demonstration video about
tunnel flying, and teach you the correct
body position, hand signals (because it’s too
loud for talking in the tunnel) and how to enter
and exit the flight chamber.
provides all the equipment you’ll need,
including a helmet, goggles, knee and elbow pads
and ear plugs. Suit up and it’s your turn!
enter the flight chamber and sit on a bench with
the others in your group and, one at a time,
take turns flying. When it’s your turn you’ll
walk over to the air stream and just lean your
body into it until it lifts you off the ground.
Experienced flyers say it feels like floating,
not like falling, and there’s a net below you at
all times for further safety.
So just how different is SkyVenture from
free-falling out of a plane? Believe it or not,
that the tunnel feels just like the real thing.
In fact, many skydiving teams train regularly in
vertical wind tunnels before competitions. So,
if you can handle the rush of SkyVenture,
perhaps the next step is something a little bit
higher off the ground...
There are SkyVenture vertical wind tunnels in
Phoenix, Orlando, Denver, Perris, California
and Nashua, New Hampshire. Rates for your first flight vary from site to site, but
currently under $50, everything included. For a
portal that links to all the SkyVenture