What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Flying through the air: Indoor skydiving in Raeford

Posted September 1, 2014

— If you have ever wanted to try skydiving but don't like the idea of jumping out of a plane, we've got an experience for you. 

The Out and About team finished up its summer of adventure at Paraclete XP SkyVenture indoor skydiving in Raeford. Their vertical wind tunnel allows you to fly through the air at wind speeds of more than 100 mph. 

In the tunnel you get the same freefall feeling that you get during skydiving, but in a safe and controlled environment. The facility is so close to real skydiving that the military uses it for training.

Paraclete XP's tunnel is the biggest vertical wind tunnel on the planet in terms of power and size. Four fans at 541 horsepower each are used to maintain wind speeds and help you fly. Don't worry, nets protect you from falling into the fans and your instructor is right there to help you from flying too high at the beginning. 

Enough about the stats, what is the experience like? An adrenaline rush. For anyone who has dreamed of flying, this is a must! 

First-time flyers go through a short training session to learn the basics of how to fly. Your body has to be in a specific position - arms out, legs straight, head up and back slightly arched. Your instructor explains hand signals to you since you can't really talk in that loud tunnel. 

Then, they get you suited up with kneepads, flight suits, helmets, earplugs and goggles. 

First-timers get about two flights – one minute each in the tunnel. You might think one minute is a really short amount of time, but when you are in the tunnel it goes by slowly. The freefall experience is also the equivalent of two skydives from 13,000 feet.

The tunnel is adjusted for each person. A staff member in a booth on the side of the tunnel controls wind speeds based on the flyer's ability and movement. If you are struggling or flip over (like Kathy did!), then they can back off a bit. 

Our instructor, Henry, was great! He helped us stay focused in the tunnel and didn't let Caitlin fly away! (He also didn't laugh at all the funny faces we made in the wind tunnel. Enjoy those in the slideshow!) Indoor skydiving

I think our favorite part was when they took us up more than 50 feet in the tunnel!

Check out our video to see how we did in the tunnel and learn more about Paraclete XP! (Thanks Keith and the rest of the staff for helping us shoot footage for this piece.)  Indoor skydiving Indoor skydiving in Raeford

Also, make sure you check out the second video - a demo from the pros at Paraclete. Maybe after a few more visits, we can learn to move like that in the tunnel! 

First-time flight packages start at $69 and returning flyers packages start at $39. You can book flights through the Paraclete XP website or by calling 910-848-2600. 


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  • HurFran Sep 3, 2014

    I went last week. On Tuesday's they double the time. I had 6 minutes total for $109. It was split over three, two minute windows. It was awesome! Don't feel like falling just a strong wind blowing you up. I plan to go back. If anyone is considering it, I recommend going on Tuesdays when they double the flight time. I had some friends go on normal days and the one minute windows disappointed them. When I got in it took a good 20-30 seconds to get comfortable and then I could fly around the chamber for the remainder of the two minutes. IMO in looking at the "group" packages, they don't save much and you get less time. If it were me, sign up everyone individually to get the max flight time.

  • streetglide Sep 3, 2014

    very addictive, better bring the bank, can spend a ton of money here, doing this !!, also did it in Pigeon Forge Tenn. They let you fly much longer than they do here. More fly time for the money!

  • Holly Atkins Sep 2, 2014
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    Seems like a great place to bring the older kids. I'm sure they would love it and after the initial price being so high it's very reasonable for what you do.

  • outdoor592000 Sep 2, 2014

    I have done this and it was a blast. I think the price for the experience is a deal. Very entertaining to watch also some of the acrobatics of the regulars that go there. They really put on a show.

  • Lightfoot3 Sep 2, 2014

    Seems like a neat place. Just too pricey.