How do you get into Indoor Skydiving?
The first recorded instance of indoor skydiving happened in 1964, when a Nasa scientist working on the Apollo Space Programme experimented with human flight in a vertical wind tunnel built for research on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
“I think I can fly,” he was reported to have said. “They fired it up, and I flew.”
Following that first step, the first wind tunnel designed for human flight was built near Montreal, Canada in 1978. The air stream was created by a DC-3 engine, and visitors could fly for $4 a minute.
It wasn’t until almost 20 years later however, that a revolution in design saw a boom in indoor wind tunnels. Rather than using a single propeller below to drive the wind, SkyVenture invented a system that sees multiple props placed above, which creates airflow and pulls the air through the tunnel. With a closed chamber, the airflow is wall to wall. The first commercial SkyVenture wind tunnel opened in Florida in 1999.
Skydivers were soon using the wind tunnel to train 24/7, and Indoor Skydiving in turn started to influence traditional outdoor skydiving. Freeflying was born, where a skydiver uses their body to fall through the air in numerous orientations, not simply belly down.
Over the last two decades Indoor Skydiving tunnels have opened in cities around the world – they have experienced a boom in the last five years.
Many people using them have never jumped from an aeroplane, or ever intend to. The sport has developed along is its own path, and continues to do so.
Notably, Indoor Skydiving is particularly accessible to youngsters. Indoor Skydiving facilities offer taster sessions to children as young as six.
Getting into Indoor Skydiving usually involves taking one of those taster sessions first. A two-hour experience will see you trained and flying solo before you leave. If you develop a taste for it, it is then easy to carry on – learning more, joining a local club, taking part in the local league, developing your skills through coaching and dedicated camps, and eventually competing.
The 2nd FAI World Indoor Skydiving Championships is on 20-22 October 2017 in Laval, Montreal. Follow the action including the Livestream throughout the competition at www.wisc2017.com