The dream of human flight can be achieved here in this long-established Indoor Skydiving arena where it paradoxically combines a uniquely down-to-earth experience with the headiness of being lifted up in the air by a wind turbine. The awning and sign on arrival are a throwaway and seem like you are in a convention center anywhere in the world. The parking is convenient and plentiful. The entryway is serviceable and functional. It belies the excitement to await you inside. The place has a sense that it has been here a long time, and is confident in itself such that it needs no renovation or sprucing up. It is a little worse for wear, but believe me, that is part of the charm. It has been here since 1982. You feel like you are going to an old club where you are welcome just the way you are. There are t-shirts and caps with the company's logo--a human in a flight suit up in the air--in the lobby. None of these is especially stylish, but a nice memento of your time here, if you want one that is material. Your indelible memories, and the photo/video of your flight will be another, more vivid reminder of your time here.
Be sure to make reservations and/or pay in advance early, particularly during holidays, as they book up fast. The day we went it was sold out. (Good thing we already had paid for our slot!) It costs $75 per person, I believe, for the standard experience, of about 2-3 minutes flying time. (Keep in mind that if one of your number chickens out, or is unable to participate for any reason, the rest of the group can divvy up his or her time). But you can pay more to get more time in the tunnel, and I recommend this! We went for 15 minutes for 3 persons, which was about 5 minutes each. It cost us a total of about $225.00 (with our Nevada ID discount). Yes, it's expensive, so it's not an everyday kind of thing, but for a special occasion, it is so worth it. Terrific for anniversary parties, birthdays, and other celebrations. AGAIN, DON'T FORGET TO ASK FOR THE LOCALS DISCOUNT IF YOU HAVE A NEVADA ID!
After getting on the scale--yikes!--and verifying that you are not too fat to fly (anything over 180 for women of average height, and over 220 for men of average height, with greater weight allowed for exceptionally tall women and men; kids have to be a minimum of 40 lbs), and checking in, you are ready to go to class! (If you are early, you can watch flights taking place on the video monitor, or "live" upstairs on the observation deck). Leave sufficient time in case they get a little behind schedule (as appeared to be the case when we came). You can leave your belongings in a small locker. Your class will consist of a dynamic, exceptionally fit human who will be your instructor, discussing hand signs, body positions, safety rules, and showing you a short video on how it all goes down in the tunnel. You will sign a waiver that will make you feel scared. But you should not be scared. Little kids do this!
Don't do this if you have suffered a shoulder injury at any time in your life, are suffering from a back or neck injury, or are delicate in health, or are pregnant.
You will then get outfitted with multi-colored flight suit (some with overfoot straps, others with velcro snaps), helmet, gloves, earplugs, and safety goggles. You will look ridiculous and love it. Feel free to take photos. If you have a friend who is coming along, but is not going to fly, he or she can accompany you through the lecture and the suiting-up, but just not go into the wind turbine room. Then, you will line up and go into the wind tunnel for your lesson/experience. You will likely have to wait for another group to go ahead of you, as no more than 5 people at a time can go into the turbine. But you can watch, and laugh at other people's mistakes. When it is your turn, your instructor will help you get up in the air, and have you do basic stuff. The next time you will "jump" into the air. If you are pretty adept, he might even let you fly alone and do tricks. There will be photos taken of you, as well as video, that you can purchase later.
When you finish, you will be exhilarated and tired, and probably quite sweaty. You then get our of your flight clothes and get ready to go. You can tip your instructor, if you like, either in person, or using the comment box on the first floor. The staff is not that good about letting you know how to get your photos/videos, barely letting us know that they would be soon available on the website listed under our INSTRUCTOR'S name, and date and time of class. Be sure to commit to memory your Instructor's name if you want to find your photos/videos! Ours was named Sunny? He was great. Encouraging and clear. There is not much ceremony to leave, but you will probably have a grin on your face. Good luck!
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