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Outdoor Skydiving vs Indoor Skydiving


Are you ready to defy gravity and dive headfirst into the ultimate adventure? Debating between the controlled chaos of indoor skydiving and the wild thrill of outdoor skydiving? Looking for an adventure in the Bay Area and stuck between the rush of indoor skydiving San Francisco and leaping from an airplane with us at Skydive California?

Hmm, are there that many differences between outdoor skydiving vs indoor skydiving? Let’s take a gander at the differences, similarities, and if an indoor skydiving experience or the real deal is the best fit for you.

What Is Indoor Skydiving? 

Indoor skydiving, also called vertical wind tunnel flying, was created to mimic the feeling of freefall during a real skydive. However, tunnel flying quickly morphed into its own sport and discipline – there are even international wind tunnel competitions! 

A vertical wind tunnel is a large, enclosed chamber with powerful fans that thrust air upward, allowing the flyer to float. Indoor skydiving provides a controlled environment for total novices and veteran flyers to experience body flight! Does indoor skydiving feel the same as outdoor skydiving? Nah, not exactly, they’re each super unique! 

Is Indoor Skydiving Safer Than Regular Skydiving? 

Although leaps and bounds have been made in skydiving safety, yes, indoor skydiving is statistically safer than skydiving. That being said, it’s critical to realize the two aren’t exactly on the same playing field and the risks associated with each are different. For example, a skydiving risk would be a gear malfunction (which we rarely experience thanks to awesome technology), while a wind tunnel risk is bumping into the wall too hard and obtaining a gnarly bruise. 

outdoor skydiving vs indoor skydiving

Indoor Skydiving vs Real Skydiving 

While we love both indoor and outdoor skydiving, we’re partial to our altitude and sunny skies. Let’s look at some similarities and differences between the two. 


  • Body flight. The entire point of the wind tunnel is to simulate freefall and allow jumpers to nail down specifics of body flight, and the tunnel does a great job at this … but it’s not the real deal, not even close! When you freefall in a real skydive, your body hits terminal velocity (your fall rate, which is based on body mass, drag, and air density). In the tunnel, your terminal velocity is simulated for you, and your body has to adjust to the airspeed that the instructor is controlling through the fans. 
  • Winds. Well … it isn’t called a wind tunnel for nothin’! In both a real skydive and indoor skydiving, you’ll experience the rush of “wind” billowing all around! Can you breathe while indoor skydiving? Absolutely. Similar to outdoor skydiving, there’s plenty of air, and it’s self-serve. 
  • No UPPER age limit. You can be as old as you want with both indoor and outdoor skydiving! Hitting a milestone birthday, even a three-digit-er?! Come celebrate with us! 
outdoor skydiving vs indoor skydiving


  • Age. Most skydiving centers in the US have a minimum age requirement of 18 years old, which is the standard age of consent here in the good ole U S of A. On the contrary, most indoor skydiving tunnels allow flyers as young as THREE years old to soar around the tunnel, making indoor skydiving a great activity for the entire family. 
  • There’s no airplane … Okay, this may seem like an obvious one, but think about it! We’re not here to put a damper on tunnel flying, but come on. You can choose between the camaraderie of a jump plane full of skydivers and tandem students who are HYPED for their jumps, or stepping inside a column of air for a couple of minutes. Hmmm … 
  • There’s no parachute… Again, an obvious observation. One of the most beautiful parts of a skydive is the canopy flight. After an exhilarating freefall, it’s stunning to be enveloped in peaceful quiet, and breathtaking views as you soar the skies under a giant wing. At the end of your “freefall” in the wind tunnel, you simply step out!
  • Mental effects. If we had to use one word to describe skydiving, it would be euphoric … special, unreal, awe-inspiring … Ah! We can’t pick just one! Skydiving is an incredibly freeing and eye-opening experience, and the pure joyous freedom it naturally provides is the reason many people pursue jumping as a hobby or lifestyle. Skydiving is a constant challenge, and the learning never stops. The feeling when you finally crush a goal, whether it’s getting past “door fear” as a baby bird jumper, or experiencing an “aha” moment during a freefly jump, the mental momentum gained is unmatched! Indoor skydiving can be tons of fun and provides its own set of challenges, but does it provide an emotionally freeing experience? Nah, not really. 
outdoor skydiving

Is Indoor Skydiving Worth It? 

Sure. Indoor skydiving offers a controlled environment for the whole clan to enjoy. But, if you’re looking for an indescribably life-changing experience, then real skydiving is where it’s at. Plus, the littles can always hang out on the ground and watch you swoop in like a superhero – it can’t be beat! 

Don’t hesitate, don’t wait, book your skydive today! We can’t wait for you to spread your wings and FLY! Blue skies.

Read Next: What to Know when Booking a Skydive

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