Indoor skydiving (or "body flying" as it is also known) is the latest crazy activity for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies everywhere. Given it's name, you could be forgiven for thinking that this must either involve a very short drop or a very tall building but you would be wrong on both counts.
Indoor skydiving provides an extended experience of being in free-fall without ever going more than maybe 10 feet above ground level. In indoor skydiving, you are equipped just as you might be for a real skydive in a jump suit with goggles and a helmet, but without the burden of the completely unnecessary parachute. Apart from getting changed, before you fly there will typically be a short orientation and safety briefing. Following this you will enter the vertical wind tunnel, at the bottom of which are fans similar to those used in aerodynamic test chambers but arranged to blow straight up. These fans are protected by a strong metal mesh and above this there is trampoline netting so there is no danger of falling onto the machinery and, at worst, only a small and cushioned drop like landing on a trampoline even if the machine were suddenly turned off . These fans generate winds in excess of 100 mph (the speed is adjusted to match what would be the terminal velocity of a person of your height and weight if you had jumped out of an aircraft) and are strong enough that you can free fall in The airstream. The first time you will probably just want to adopt the classic 'starfish' flying pose and enjoy this amazing, new experience but as you gain confidence there is plenty of scope to engage in mid-air acrobatics including turns, rolls and changes in posture that Will allow you to control your 'fall' rate. The trainers at these centers are fully experienced in what can be accomplished within the tunnel and will provide instruction as you want to learn more.
The tunnels are usually made of clear Perspex with a viewing gallery from which friends and family can watch your flight. There's no binoculars involved as while you are in free fall you will be hovering or floating in mid-air, stationary and at about eye level or just above the spectators point of view. Most indoor skydiving centers will also offer the option of getting photographs or a video of your flight if you wish, so you can show your loved ones how you were and what a great time you had. Many packages also include more than one flight and most centers offer additional flights on the day (subject to availability) and the opportunity to book up later flights which is a good thing as once you've tried this, you will definitely want to come back For more!
So that's indoor skydiving. Its provides the full experience of free-falling but in the safe environment of a controlled and enclosed air stream with either a parachute nor the danger of a long drop, and without the problems that interfere with conventional high-altitude skydiving such as bad weather and Occasionally temperamental aircraft.
To be able to take part in indoor skydiving you will typically need a reasonable level of health and fitness. The air stream can be a little 'bumpy' so anyone who has a history of heart problems or with dislocations of the back, neck or shoulders should probably seek the advice of a doctor before taking part. Unfortunately indoor skydiving is not suitable for pregnant women or people who are wearing a cast to support previously broken bones but since these are both temporary conditions, the good news is that you could still have a go at a later date! If you are under the influence of alcohol or other recreational drugs you may also be warned from flying. Upper weight limits vary by location but indoor skydiving facilities typically have fans that are strong enough to support people up to a weight of at least 18 stone. The wearing of glasses is not a problem as these will fit under and be covered by the goggles you will be issued with. Probably most other physical impairments will not interfere with or prevent your enjoyment of indoor skydiving but it will be worth notifying the center in advance if you are likely to need assistance with access.
Suiting clothing for under the jump suit is casual dress with no collar (eg jeans and a t-shirt) and your shoes should be laced trainers or skating shoes that are a good fit. Footwear will also be available (sometimes with a small charge) if you do not own trainers yourself. Note that you will be asked to remove all jewelry and to empty your pockets before flying as loose change and other objects can be a hazard inside the wind tunnel where indoor skydiving takes place.
Children under the age of 18 will need a signed parental consent form but this is basically a very safe and absolutely thrilling experience. This is an ideal experience to give as a birthday or Christmas present as it is something that just about everyone can enjoy. Alternately if you are looking for a family or small group activity that is just a little bit different, this is exactly the sort of thing where you can go along together and share the enjoyment of taking part in this fantastic and unusual activity.