I know that the paragraph about Flyaway Indoor Skydiving in last week’s Cool Tools was just an excerpt from the book Eccentric America, but I’d like to add a bit to that information. First, as you may have noticed, Flyaway Indoor Skydiving also has a location in Pigeon Forge, TN (near Dollywood — doesn’t everyone know where that is?). Second, this type of wind tunnel is not the best. I would like to recommend SkyVenture instead. Their most convenient location is in Orlando, FL. The difference between the two is that Flyaway’s technology results in a sort of “hill of air” with a dead ring around the inside of the tunnel–thus you can “fall off” the air stream, which is especially easy when you are not used to flying your body. SkyVenture’s, on the other hand, offers a flat surface of wind, so to speak, that reaches horizontally all the way to the edges of the tunnel. I’m not sure exactly how SkyVenture’s works so well, except I know they have multiple fans which “suck” from the ceiling rather than blowing from the bottom. SkyVenture’s is so much like real skydiving that skydivers train there and become very competitive while making relatively few actual skydives. I’ve been in both wind tunnels and I would have a hard time recommending Flyaway after having experienced SkyVenture. Besides the fact that Flyaway is not “authentic” in terms of skydiving experience, it’s also a bit unnerving to be able to fall off the air stream, I think.
Anyway, I don’t think a wind tunnel itself would really fall into the category of a “cool tool”–but I just don’t want anyone to be misled into thinking that Flyaway is the best or only wind tunnel out there! (I have no affiliation with either wind tunnel; I just had one of the most fun experiences of my life at a skydiving skills camp at SkyVenture, whereas my experience with taking my family to Flyaway–before I was aware of the difference in wind tunnels–was just so-so.)
– Maria Blees
BTW, they seem to have quite a few locations, not just Orlando.