Out and About

Flying through the air: Indoor skydiving in Raeford

The Out and About team finished up its summer of adventure at Paraclete XP indoor skydiving in Raeford.

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Kathy Hanrahan
Caitlin Zanga
RAEFORD, N.C. — 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!)

The Out and About team earned their "wings" after indoor skydiving at Paraclete XP in Raeford.

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.)

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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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