Spoiler: This ain’t no cage match. Honestly, both skydiving and wind tunnel flying most definitely have their place, and neither is “better” or “worse” than the other. We’re chest-thumping zealots about the fact that everybody should try both wind tunnel flying and skydiving at least once. That said: If you must pick one (at least for now), there are some pointers we’ll give you to help you pick. Here goes.
There’s a good reason why tandem skydiving is the most popular adventure sports experience on the planet. No other activity delivers the sheer inspiration of a skydive, from the heart-thumping excitement of the plane ride to the million-watt flashbulb moment of the first seconds of freefall to the grace of the parachute ride to the ground. There is no substitute for an actual, factual skydive. It’s its own thing.
Seeing Northern Georgia from 14,000 feet — the ponds, the lush national forests, the carpet patterns of fields and communities — is something we never get tired of, and we do it every day. We escape the Georgia heat up in the cool stratospheric temperatures; we watch the weather roll along its merry path; sometimes, when it’s especially clear, we can even see the city of Atlanta. We want everybody to have the opportunity to check this out through an open aircraft door; it’s like leaping into a painting.
There’s a strict minimum age limit for skydiving out of a plane: 18 years of age, proved with a government-issued photo ID, on the day of the jump. No exceptions. If that doesn’t describe you and you’re chomping at the bit to learn how to fly, get your underage caboose to the indoor skydiving wind tunnel, young padawan. Hone your chops there, and you’ll be outflying almost everybody by the time you complete your AFF course.
Skydiving is remarkably accessible, and flying in the wind tunnel is even moreso. Curious folks of all abilities have been able to train in the wind tunnel. (Check out this guy, for instance.) If your mobility is different than most, you owe it to yourself to visit the experienced, professional tunnel instructors to evaluate your considerations on a case-by-case basis. You’ll be amazed at what’s possible!
For some, the idea of getting out of an airplane isn’t as scary as the idea of being in one. Why not take the airplane out of the equation, but enjoy the sensation of freefall anyway? That’s the tunnel for ya: Pure freefallin’ fun with no takeoff nerves.
Although one is in a chamber and the other in an aircraft, once you get into the relative wind you get the body flight sensation, the hovering, and that oh-so-good flying feeling that fills your body up with adrenaline and huge smiles.
The both have incredible communities of people that embrace you from your first flight or first jump. These people have been in your shoes, the first-timers that go from the world of the unknown to minds totally blown. And in an instant, you have a whole new world of friends.
Bottom line? Both experiences are loads of fun that will leave you smiling from ear-to-ear.