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Learning to Skydive - INDOORS!
What a blast!
Ages 3 to 90 have skydived
Try sky diving - inside!
One of the things on my "Never to do before I die list" is skydiving. I never had an interest in jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. So when my adventurous younger brother gave the three of us gift certificates to Sky-ventures in Nashua, NH I was kind of hoping the place went bankrupt before I would have to redeem them. But one rainy June weekend I called up to see if they had an opening, which they did, we went and we had a BLAST!
Sky-ventures is located in the mega shopping district of Nashua, NH which is conveniently located on the border of Massachusetts where New Hampshire's tax free shopping has created a megaplex of shopping malls including the Pheasant Lane Mall. Sky-ventures is located behind the Best Buy in a modern complex. The heart of the complex is a huge wind turbine capable of keeping humans up to 250 pounds aloft.
Indoor sky diving is not cheap although I'm sure its much cheaper then real sky diving. You pay something in the order of $55 for two minutes of sky diving time. Two minutes might not seem like a lot but the over all experience is really more like $30 after spending time watching others skydive, getting some instructions, putting on equipment, actually sky diving and watching the instructors show off.
The mind blowing sensory overload of experience of the actual skydiving (divided into two one minute sessions) is such a difference experience that its totally worth it. It will blast your out of what ever rut you find yourself in.
When we arrived for our scheduled flight time we got see a local skydiving club practice moves in the wind tunnel. It was a little intimidating as they practice some fancy maneuvers. Sometimes they even spun out of control and smacked into the glass or the trainers had to grab them.
Then it was our time in the instruction room. Our instructor was very friendly and went over the basic move to keep oneself in a controlled "fall". There weren't a lot of questions I guess because everyone was a bit leery of the whole concept.
Next up we stashed any loose objects like rings, watches, ear rings etc and got fitted with googles, helmets, a flight suit and ear plugs. Once in the tunnel you can't hear anything so the instructors have to use hand signals.
Into the tunnel the group lines up along a bench and goes into the tunnel one at a time. The instructor is in there constantly adjusting your position using touches and hand signals. It really overwhelming. You're experiencing this mind blowing rush of air, 80 to 100 miles an hour, and the instructor is moving your feet a little or giving you a signal to put your chin up or your floating down to the steel mesh floor or wandering towards the glass and at the same time a photographer is taking pictures so you try to smile as your cheeks flap around. At the end of the minute you have to grasp the door with two hands and your body eases back to the windless waiting area. Whoa!
On the second trip into the tunnel the instructor gets you into position, they crank up the air and both of you fly up high and in circles in formation. Later after everyone has gone the instructors show off a bit by flying around in the tunnel, after trying it yourself you can really appreciate the skills of these experience sky divers.
One of the restrictions on flying is that if you've ever dislocated a shoulder you shouldn't fly. My son and I both experience some soreness in our shoulder. One older guy in our group actually dislocated his shoulder on the first flight, popped it back in and then didn't do the second flight. He had a dislocated shoulder in the past but didn't tell anyone. So I'd say the warning about dislocated shoulders is a real one and should not be taken lightly.
Other than that, everyone in our group did a great job flying and had successful flights. Behind us was a group of kids who were having a birthday party. That must have been one expensive birthday party but certainly one that would be talked about at school.
Before the flight you can arrange to have a video and after your flight you can purchase photos which are $15 at minimum. Be prepared to spend money for this whole deal.
So does this experience make me want to try sky diving for real? Not really but I think I'd go back some day and try this indoor sky diving again - it was a blast!
Experts in the tunnel
If skydiving becomes your new passion, you can train to become experts like these guys in the video. Who knows, maybe this will become your new sport?