Wanna try tunnel flying? Here's your preflight briefing:
What is it?
Bodyflight, or indoor skydiving, is the closest you can come to flying without a jet pack or seagull's wings. It's done inside a vertical wind tunnel with your body outstretched on a "column" of air that's blowing between 120 and 185 mph.
Where can I do it?
There are 13 major tunnels in the U.S. They are:
• SkyVenture New Hampshire, Nashua, N.H.
• Paraclete XP SkyVenture, Raeford, N.C.
• Appalachian Amusement Center, Waynesville, N.C.
• Flyaway Indoor Skydiving, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
• SkyVenture Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
• SkyVenture Colorado, Lone Tree, Colo.
• iFly Utah, Ogden, Utah
• SkyVenture Arizona, Eloy, Ariz.
• Flyaway Indoor Skydiving, Las Vegas
• iFly SF Bay, Union City, Calif.
• iFly Hollywood, Universal City, Calif.
• Skydive Perris, Perris, Calif.
• VR Skydive, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Why should I do it?
C'mon, Sally. Live a little. Even if you're not a death-defying thrill seeker, bodyflight is heaps of fun and plenty safe — even for the kids.
Is it expensive?
You decide: Paraclete XP SkyVenture, just a few miles from Fort Bragg, N.C., charges a basic rate of $1,100 per hour, which works out to about $19 per minute, the approximate time you'd experience in free fall if you were to skydive for real. For $54, a first-timer can get two one-minute sessions in the tunnel. That includes instruction and gear rental (flight suit, helmet, goggles and pads). Other packages are available. Pricing is comparable at other U.S. tunnels.
What can I expect?
A darn good time. You won't be an expert after one tour in the tunnel, but with enough practice over time you can learn to control your movements and enhance your experience. Be patient if you want to stick with it.
Can I take a friend?
You can, but don't expect to fly simultaneously if it's your first time.