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Vegas Indoor Skydiving: Holding Your Own in a Wind Tunnel

Vegas Indoor Skydiving

: , , U.S.A.

The anticipation is half the fun. As you nervously wait, dressed in a , helmet, gloves, ear plugs, and protective eyewear, while lying on a trampoline-like wire mesh floor of a padded cell, your excitement almost gets the best of you. You’re waiting for a giant fan to blow you skyward, a sensation like no other you’ve ever experienced. You’re at Vegas Indoor Skydiving, where their giant DC-3 fan blows so hard (the wind speed reaches 120 mph [193kmph]) you fly high into a . It’s as close as you can get to skydiving, without jumping out of a plane.

Before you get to the fun of floating, you begin your hour-long experience with a briefing session, which includes watching a short video, addressing safety concerns, learning proper body position and flight techniques as well as the necessary hand signals in the tunnel, and how to tuck-and-roll properly in case you fly out of the main airstream and have to land on the padded rim. It seems like a lot to remember, but it’s all in the name of safety.

Once in the wind tunnel, you get hands-on help from one of the staff members. As the wind speed picks up, the instructor helps steady you in the airstream. Look! You’re flying—arms and legs spread out in a big X so you stay horizontal—and simulating the freefall aspect of sky diving. Just try to wipe the grin off your face.

The actual time spent in the wind tunnel will vary. It’s based on 3 minutes per person: Up to five flyers at once are allowed, so grab four friends and you can stay in for 15 minutes. Keep in mind this is an athletic activity, so you might break a sweat as you’re flying high. If you’re going to get into skydiving, here’s where you can learn the basics of body control techniques that would take far more time (and money) leaping from a plane. Skydivers who want more flight time for less money also come here to learn tricks, from spins and barrel rolls to front and back flips, before heading up in a plane for the full freefalling rush.
This is an activity for all ages, but there are weight and height restrictions. Minimum weight is 40 pounds, and the maximum weight allowed is linked to a person’s height. This is important because guests who exceed the maximum may not generate enough lift to fly. Pricing is set so the second flight on the same day costs less than the first. Also available are five-flight packages, family block packages, and coaching packages that include five sessions and a video.

Skydiving in wind tunnels is offered in other cities, too. SkyVenture Colorado in a Denver suburb, Flyaway Indoors in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and iFLY Hollywood in Universal City, California, all offer indoor skydiving experiences.

, 200 Convention Center Dr. ( 877/545-8093 or 702-731-4768 local; www.vegasindoorskydiving.com).
SkyVenture Colorado, 9230 Park Meadows Dr., Littleton, CO ( 303/768-9000; www.skyventurecolorado.com).
Flyaway Indoor Skydiving, 3106 Parkway Dr., Pigeon Forge, TN ( 877/293-0639; flyawayindoorskydiving.com/pf.html).
iFLY Hollywood, Universal Studios City Walk, Hollywood Universal City, CA ( 818/985-4359; www.iflyhollywood.com).

When to Go: Year-round.
Airport: McCarran International.

$$ Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S. ( 877/632-7000 or 702/632-7000; www.madalaybay.com).
MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. ( 800/929-1111 or 702/891-7777; www.mgmgrand.com).

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