I am a fairly regular skydiver, and in the five years or so since my first jump, I have now done about 130 altogether. There are a couple of skydiving goals on my list, and one was to skydive in a vertical wind tunnel.
In Australia there isn’t any such facility at all, the nearest one being in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. However, there are plenty of them here in the States, and a small detour on the way back up to LA from San Diego took us to Perris Skydive.
My friend Evan, who did alot of the internet publicity for my “ALife4Sale” website was keen to come along, but when he found out that he could do a real tandem skydive there instead, he lost all interest in the wind tunnel, and we went our separate ways for an hour or so as we both went off to do our respective training.
My problem though was that I had lost my cameraman!! I only have a few pictures of the tunnel itself, and of others in the tunnel before I got in, but none of myself in there at all!
It was a very interesting experience, and is very similar in feel to a skydive, but quite different visually. You have the same feeling of being supported by the air, the same pressure on arms, body and legs, but in a skydive there is so much space around you. Unless you are skydiving with other people it is very difficult to know whether you are falling down straight, or backsliding, or falling slow or fast. But in the tunnel there are walls and windows all around, and they provide a great reference point.
I was pretty pleased with my performance, and managed to stay in the middle without too much difficulty, and very quickly managed a few turns, and a few moves vertically up and down the tunnel.
Each person in the group has a minute then flies to the door and gets out, and the next person gets in. The time goes pretty quick, but you can fit quite alot in, and my second minute was really good fun, as I played with fall-rate and moved quickly up and down the tunnel.
I only had two minutes, at a bargain price of $35, and could have happily done more. I can see how time in the tunnel would be a great skydive training aid, but it is great fun too!
Anyway, as there is no video or pix of my time in the tunnel, here is Evan’s first tandem jump. Be warned – he was pretty excited and pumped up after the jump, and there is a bit of a language warning!!!
This next video shows some of the people in the tunnel just before it was my turn. The instructors are excellent. Hmmm, I wonder how I get a job there….
Big thanks to Evan for a great weekend, and for being there, at least in spirit, for goal 17!