When did you do the SkyVenture Training?
For kicks, some friends and I decided to skydive. Fascinated, I continued through the all the Tandem jumps, and continued on to the Instructor Assisted Freeball (IAF) program. After my first unsuccessful attempt at the second IAF jump (number 7), I decided I needed to do something to "enhance" my flying skills. The manager of my Skydiving Center (Carolina Sky Sports) recommended SkyVenture.
Was SkyVenture Required?
Absolutely not. I think I would have eventually completed all the IAF levels without it -- this training helps me to be a better flyer. I'm not an athletic person by any means. The wind tunnel training simply helped me to "catch up". The overwhelming majority of folks go all the way through the levels with no additional training, and many people pass all the levels with no problem whatsoever.
What was the Wind Tunnel?
The SkyVenture wind tunnel is located in Orlando, Florida -- just down the street from the entrance to the Universal Studios theme park. Basically, it is a tunnel about 15 or 20 feet across that you can fly in -- almost exactly like skydiving! The tunnel generates a column of air moving at about 120 mph. In the tunnel, you're able to learn and practice body control in a highly accelerated fashion. Within the space of a couple of days, I was able to obtain the equivalent freefall experience of about 30 to 40 skydives!
Did it take two entire days?
No, I was only in the wind tunnel flying for about thirty to forty minutes. Each day, I was only at SkyVenture for about two to three hours. The rest of the time I was able to sightsee and go to Universal Studios! As a beginner, the tunnel training tended to wear me out quickly -- so I only went inside the tunnel about 20 minutes each day.
Did anyone help or coach you?
Yes! A coach is included in the cost of the wind tunnel. The coaches are incredible flyers. They help you with basic stability, turning, forward/backward movement, and up/down movement. As you progress, you're taught more advanced skills!
Did you have to bring any equipment?
I brought my own jumpsuit -- but the folks at SkyVenture will provide everything you need: Jumpsuit, helmet, ear plugs, and goggles! Just bring casual clothes and tennis shoes.
So how much does it cost?
The cost can vary a little depending upon discounts, or if you're buying a large block of time as a skydiver, or as part of a professional team. (The only way to be sure of the exact price is to check the current pricing at Skyventure.com). Basically, you should plan for about $20 to $40 for each two minutes of flying time. While that doesn't sound like much time, consider that I was exhausted after about 15 minutes on my first day -- and that 15 minutes is equivalent to around 20 skydives! By the second day, I was able to do 20 minutes of flying without much problem On my next trip, I think I could do 30 minutes without much problem. You have to weigh that cost (wind tunnel with coach) vs. the cost of skydiving training in an AFF/IAF setting. Advanced skydivers would probably be better off going as part of a team (purchasing a block of time).
Who else was at the wind tunnel?
Several skydiving teams were using the facility while I was there. On the first day, a British Women's Team was using the tunnel. They were fantastic! On the second day, members of the US Army Screaming Eagles team were practicing. It was inspiring to watch people so good!
So, what did you learn?
First, I have a much better idea of how to position my body to stay stable. I know I can solve my backsliding problem. I also learned the upper body turns fairly well. Up and down movement was also fairly easy for me. I still need to work on flying forward and backward smoothly, and at some point, I want to work on leg turns. I tried both a little while in the wind tunnel -- it's a little bit rough at this point. I hope to go back down sometime soon to work on my flying skills!
More importantly, I want to try all the new skills in the air in my next attempt at IAF jump seven!
If you're interested, you can view all the pictures from my Sky Venture, or watch a few video clips. Note: The video clips (wmv format) are about 3 to 5 megs each and require Windows Media Player: Instructor flying video, My flying videos: Learning to turn, then foward/back and learning to fly up/down and just flying!
SkyVenture is a GREAT place to hone your skydiving skills! It's located in Orlando, Florida.
|The "flying area" of the tunnel is at the level you see the round windows.|
|This is a picture from outside, looking underneath the tunnel. The controller can adjust the wind flow at 120+ mph!|
wind tunnel visit will include a short class to teach you the basics of
This is Michael, my coach during the first
day. He's helping one of the other new students get suited up.
|Thomas was my coach on the second day. These guys are the most incredible body flyers I've ever seen. They have hundreds -- if not thousands -- of hours in the wind tunnel!|
While I was by
no means a whiz flyer, I gained measurable skill in several problem
|By the end of the second day, I felt a significant amount of control in basic up/down and turning. I still have a long way to go!|
(c) Copyright 2002, Keith
Turbyfill. May not be distributed, reproduced, or reprinted without my
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Copyright (c) 2002, Keith Turbyfill. All rights reserved.