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Indoor skydiving is interesting to many people who prefer to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground. A fear of heights or landing in a way that would cause injury keeps more than a few folks from trying the sport. Enter indoor skydiving, a means of getting the feel of floating through the air, without the inherent dangers of jumping from a plane.
Indoor skydiving uses what are called vertical wind tunnels. Wind speeds can be anywhere from 80-140 mph (128.75-225.31 kph). This provides ample draft to lift the body upward, just a few feet above the ground, or more accurately above the wind tunnel floor. These machines are used with great frequency by skydivers. They may help train people who want to try the sport out, and people perfecting the art of body flight or formation skydiving also employ them.
Popularity of this sport has grown, though it was first used in military applications. In 1964, Jack Tiffany earned recognition as the first person to try out a vertical wind tunnel. In the late 1970s, a Canadian company, Aerodium, built the first privately owned tunnel. Interest in using tunnels for fun and the practice of indoor skydiving became intense especially after their use in the 2006 Winter Olympics, where they were featured as part of the closing ceremony. More popularity has followed, especially with a model challenge in the reality show, America’s Next Top Model, where one challenge to the contestants was to pose pretty while floating in a wind tunnel.
There are two types of vertical wind tunnels that may be used for indoor skydiving. Some are stationary, and exist inside a large building. Others are mobile, and may be used at various events. Before you get to float, or withstand the pressure of strong updrafts, you have to undergo training if you’ve never tried the sport before. People of virtually all ages and fitness levels can try indoor skydiving, and the sport as entertainment does draw many who are afraid of heights or actual skydiving. Sometimes people also use indoor skydiving as a means of preparing for actual skydiving.