Adventure: Indoor Skydiving
And so we stepped into the 12-foot cylindrical flight chamber. Imagine something like a glass-enclosed funnel turned upside down, blowing with the sort of wind you might get in January atop Mount Washington. Nick took hold and tilted us into proper position. He let go, held on, flashed signals — and all the while, we swirled, rose, and dropped.
At first I must have looked like some newborn creature introduced into a world it didn’t know. I was stiff and clumsy — a baby loon flapping and fluttering in an attempt to lift off. But then, with just a few moments to go in my 60-second flight, Nick grabbed hold of me and we shot up together past the big picture windows and into the netherworld of a manmade thermal. Up and down we rose, as the first crack of a smile leaked out of my wind-bubbled face.
On our second flight, I noticed how stiff Henry looked as he walked into the chamber — but how he was transformed as he soared. Each time we gained our best flight, Nick was assisting us as he gave the thumbs-up signal to the wind operator and winged us upward to that lofty place where humans feel like birds. Of course, it would be nice to fly like Nick, who at the end showed us some breathtaking swoops and flips. Besides catering to rank beginners, these wind tunnels are the practice playground of some of the world’s best skydivers.
Frankly, after seeing Nick’s gymnastics, I was a little glum that I was “stiff as steel,” not supple enough, not letting myself surrender to the experience. Maybe I was more of a sinker than a flyer. But Henry turned to me on the way home and said, “Why do you think they let you go up so high?”
“I was high?” I asked.
“Yeah, Dad, you were way up above the windows.”
I’m still smiling when I think about that. Maybe I can fly.
SKYVENTURE NEW HAMPSHIRE
3 Poisson Ave., Nashua, NH. $48 (two one-minute sessions, including training and equipment). 603-897-0002; skyventurenh.com