The Only Guide You Need for Indoor Wingsuit Flying

A group of eight wingsuit pilots in colorful wingsuits are captured mid-flight against a clear blue sky, with the sun shining brightly.
Wingsuit Flyers Can Train Their Flying Skills In Wind Tunnels

Have you ever dreamed of soaring through the air like a bird, but balked at the thought of skydiving from a plane or BASE jumping off a cliff? Fear not! Indoor wingsuit flying offers an exhilarating alternative that simulates the thrill of wingsuit flying in a safe, controlled environment, without the need for a license or extensive training.

In this post, I’ll explore the world of indoor wingsuit flying and cover everything that you ever wanted to know about indoor wingsuit flying.

What Is Indoor Wingsuit Flying?

Indoor wingsuit flying is a recreational activity and sport that simulates the experience of wingsuit flying in a controlled indoor environment. The activity takes place inside a wind tunnel, which is a large cylinder with powerful fans at the base that create a diagonal airflow.

In contrast to wind tunnels used for indoor skydiving, wingsuit wind tunnels have fans that create horizontal airflow. A ramp is used to push the air from a horizontal in a diagonal direction. This is needed in order to create the right angle between the wind and the wingsuit flyer.

Another difference to indoor skydiving tunnels is that beginners are stabilized with a rope for their first flight minutes. Without the rope, beginners will not be able to stabilize themselves and would collapse to the front. The rope will be gradually released if the beginner becomes familiar with the airflow and is able to stabilize the flight.

In both variations, it is common that wind tunnels are made of clear acrylic or glass, so spectators can watch the participants inside.

How Do I Learn Indoor Wingsuit Flying?

A normal beginner course can be split into three parts: The “ground” training, the flying session itself, and the debrief.

The Ground Training Before Indoor Wingsuit Flying

Ground training is a vital part of ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience during indoor wingsuit flying. It provides an introduction to the wind tunnel, the flying process, and safety procedures. The instructor will also explain how each piece of equipment works, and demonstrate how to use them correctly.

Next, participants will learn about body positioning and techniques for indoor flying. They will learn how to stabilize their body during the simulated freefall, and how to use their arms, legs, and other body parts to control their movement in the air.

Safety procedures are also a critical part of ground training. Participants will learn how to communicate with their instructor during their session, and how to enter and exit the wind tunnel. The safety procedures are key to preventing not only the student but also the instructors from any injuries.

In fact, it is more likely that students harm the instructor than themselves during the session. They might hit the instructor with their arms or legs if flying around uncontrolled.

The Fyling Session of Indoor Wingsuit Flying

The flying session represents the main and most exciting part of indoor wingsuit flying. Depending on the company, the total flight time ranges between 2-30 minutes broken down into 2-3 minute intervals.

Two minutes does not sound like a lot, especially when going through all the training beforehand, but remember that the freefall of a normal skydive is around 2 minutes. Nonetheless, I would go for a company that includes multiple 2-minute sessions. Otherwise, you will just have gotten the taste of it when the time is already over.

Between the sessions, your instructor will provide you with feedback on your flight. The instructor will also give you tips on how to be more stable and how to fly back and forth (and potentially turn around). You will also have time to ask your instructor all your questions.

You will be amazed by how much you can learn during these two minutes – and you will also be happy to have a quick break in between.

Debriefing the Indoor Wingsuit Flight

After the flight, the instructor will typically ask you how you enjoyed the experience and if you have any feedback. They may ask if you felt comfortable during the flight and if there were any moments when you felt nervous or uncertain. As it is the instructor’s goal to ensure that you had a safe and enjoyable experience, share your feedback openly.

It will also be your turn again to ask any questions or discuss any aspects of the flight. It is a good time to say thank you to your instructor.

Last but not least, many indoor skydiving places will also ask you if you want to buy some video and photo footage of your flight.

Learn More About the Startup Course for Indoor Wingsuit Flying

How Long Does Indoor Wingsuit Flying Take?

A typical indoor wingsuit flying training is between 1.5-2 hours. The training is composed of 45-60 minutes of ground practice and an introduction to the gear, a total flying time of 2-30 minutes, and a debrief session of 5-15 minutes.

As you can see, there is quite a big range of how long an indoor wingsuit flight can take. The biggest difference is the total flying time, which is highly dependent on the type of course and the wind tunnel company. I would personally go for a company that offers multiple sessions, which usually take two to three minutes.

Having multiple sessions ensures quick flying progress and will also help you train movement that you would not do outside. For example, the “Indoor Wingsuit Stockholm” offers courses with a total flying time of 30 minutes, broken down into 2.5 minutes sessions.

How Much Does Indoor Wingsuit Flying Cost?

As a general rule, an introductory course for indoor wingsuit flying ranges between $250-500, depending on the location and provider. If you are experienced in indoor wingsuit flying you can purchase flying time per minute typically ranging between $15-20 per minute.

That being said, you can save money when purchasing group courses. This will bring the price per person down to around $250 and will increase the fun level. For repeat flyers, buying large-minute packages (e.g., 600 minutes) will bring the cost down to $15 per minute.

Is There a Weight Limit For Indoor Wingsuit Flying?

In general, most indoor wingsuit facilities have a weight limit of around 260 pounds (120 kg) for safety reasons. There is no minimum weight requirement. The weight limit for indoor wingsuit flying varies depending on the specific wind tunnel and the utilized equipment.

However, some facilities may have lower weight limits, so it’s best to check with the specific facility beforehand to confirm their weight restrictions. It’s also important to note that weight is not the only factor in determining whether someone can participate in indoor wingsuit flying.

Participants must also be in the good physical condition and able to follow the safety guidelines and instructions provided by the instructor.

Is There A Height Limit For Indoor Wingsuit Flying?

As a general rule, most indoor wingsuit facilities require participants to be at least 3-4 feet (90-120 cm) tall to be able to fit comfortably into the wind tunnel and the provided safety gear. There is no maximum height requirement for participants.

Again, please check with the facility beforehand. You do not want to bring your kids to the facility only to discover that they then are not allowed to participate.

How Fast Does Indoor Wingsuit Flying Feel Like?

The maximum air speed that wind tunnels can generate is ~190 mph (300 km/h), corresponding to the maximum terminal velocity of a skydiver in a heads-down-to-earth position. Many indoor wingsuit facilities, however, limit the speed to ~100 mph (160 km/h) due to safety and training purposes.

That being said, your feeling of speed will vary based on your personal experience. As you are not covering distances during indoor wingsuit flying, you might not feel like moving at high speed at all. In fact, you are more likely to feel like flying or being weightless.

How Does Wind Tunnel Wingsuit Flying Feel?

Indoor wingsuit flying can provide a unique and exhilarating experience that simulates the feeling of wingsuit flying in a controlled indoor environment. The feeling of the wind rushing past your body can be intense, and the sensation of being suspended in the air can be both thrilling and liberating.

You may also feel a sense of weightlessness or a feeling of flying like a bird as you navigate through the wind tunnel, using your arms, legs, and body position to control your movement. The experience can be compared to the feeling of skydiving, but in a more stable environment, in which you have more influence over what is happening.

I also felt a rush of excitement and a sense of accomplishment as I mastered the techniques and maneuvers during my flight – even though it is not as strong as in wingsuit flying.

Bonus tip: There are some companies that allow you to fly with VR glasses on. The glasses simulate different environments including the most beautiful landscapes. This increases the feeling of actual wingsuit flying even more. You might also play some “games” with the VR glasses, in which you must avoid certain digital objects.

Is It Hard to Fly Wingsuits in a Wind Tunnel?

As a whole, indoor wingsuit flying is a challenging sport, particularly for beginners. However, novices often make rapid progress and learn to move their bodies correctly. Experienced outdoor wingsuit flyers tend to find indoor flying easier due to its similarities to outdoor flying.

If you’re wondering whether outdoor wingsuit flying is difficult to learn and master, my latest post has all the answers. I dive into the intricacies of this adrenaline-fueled activity, exploring the surprising skills and experience required to succeed in the world of wingsuit flying.

Is Indoor Wingsuit Flying Different From Normal Wingsuit Flying?

As a general rule, indoor and outdoor wingsuit flying share many similarities such as flying maneuvers, equipment, and the sensation of free fall. However, they differ fundamentally in terms of emotional experience, safety, and required skills.

Similarities Between Wind Tunnel And Actual Wingsuit Flying

Wingsuit flying can be an exhilarating experience, whether done in a wind tunnel or in an outdoor setting. One of the key similarities between the two is the sensation of free fall that is invoked. Whether jumping from an airplane or flying in a wind tunnel, wingsuit flyers experience the thrill of free fall and the sensation of flying through the air.

Another similarity is the use of similar equipment, including a harness, helmet, and wingsuit. While a parachute is not needed in a wind tunnel, similar basic equipment is used for both indoor and outdoor wingsuit flying.

Flying techniques are also similar between indoor and outdoor wingsuit flying. In fact, some wingsuit flyers use indoor flying as a way to improve their technique. It is a highly efficient way of training because it does not require a plane ride to experience free fall.

Instead, flyers can simply hop into the wind tunnel and practice a maneuver multiple times in a controlled environment. This makes it much easier to perfect a technique and can save time and resources compared to practicing the same maneuver in outdoor skydiving.

For example, the average duration of an outdoor wingsuit flight is between 2-3 minutes. If you want to train a maneuver for 20 minutes, you would need between 7-10 skydiving jumps. In the wind tunnel, in contrast, you can just book a corresponding package without the need of going through the full flight procedure.

And do not be mistaken: the skills that you learn during indoor flying can be translated to outdoor flying. I have spoken to a wingsuit pilot who struggled to backfly during traditional skydiving jumps. He then learned it within 30 minutes in a tunnel and could replicate his success in his next outdoor wingsuit flight.

Differences Between Wind Tunnel And Actual Wingsuit Flying

One of the biggest differences is the emotional experience. Outdoor wingsuit flying is much more dangerous than indoor flying, which makes it more mentally challenging to overcome fear and maintain focus during the jump. In addition, more licenses and training are required for outdoor flying to ensure proper knowledge of equipment, wind, and landing terrain.

Another significant difference is the inability to replicate the “hill” in wind tunnels. The hill is the transition period when jumping out of an airplane in which the horizontal speed is still faster than the vertical speed. This requires wingsuit flyers to perform their movements in a different direction until the vertical speed is faster.

A third difference is the absence of a canopy ride and landing. While indoor flying is limited to free fall and controlled flight, outdoor flying includes a canopy ride that requires different skills such as steering and navigating. The canopy ride also offers an opportunity to enjoy the environment and landscape around you, which is not available in a wind tunnel.

Overall, outdoor wingsuit flying requires much more training, experience, and mental and physical endurance than indoor flying – after all, each mistake can be deadly.

Ready to take your love of flying to the next level? Find out how long it takes to learn wingsuit flying and what you need to do to get started in our comprehensive guide! From gear to jump requirements and everything in between, this guide got you covered. Get ready to soar to new heights!

How Dangerous Is Indoor Wingsuit Flying?

While there are no recorded fatalities in indoor wingsuit flying, the risk of injury is around 0.02%. In other words, there is one injury for every 5,000 indoor flights. Outdoor wingsuit flying is significantly more dangerous with a fatality rate of 0.2% i.e. one fatality for every 500 jumps.

What to Wear During Indoor Wingsuit Flying?

In order to have an enjoyable wind tunnel flight, students should wear comfortable and stretchable clothing that allows for free movement. The clothes should be functional, well-fitting, and flexible such as activewear used for exercise or yoga.

Another piece of advice is to protect your neck and throat with a neckerchief or gaiter to provide warmth and protection against the cold air and strong wind. Long hair should be tied up in a ponytail or braid to prevent it from falling in one’s face and hindering the view.

Finally, if you normally wear contacts or eyeglasses, do not leave them at home! They provide 100% visibility during the indoor flight which is important to orient yourself and understand the hand signals of your instructor.

There are also some clothes that you best leave at home. These include clothing with zippers, strings, metal grommets, rhinestones, or other details, skirts, dresses, and jeans, as well as favorite sandals, heels, and slippers.

What Is the Required Age For Indoor Wingsuit Flying?

The minimum age for wind tunnels is around 3 years for indoor skydiving and around 7 years for indoor wingsuit flying. The age requirement can differ from facility to facility as well as between countries. In general, there is no maximum age for both disciplines.

Are Wingsuits For Wind Tunnels Different?

Indoor wingsuits are designed specifically for indoor skydiving. Unlike outdoor wingsuits, they do not have the large surface area needed for long glides, since there is no need for an aerodynamic lift to stay in the air.

Instead, indoor wingsuits are designed to provide maximum control and maneuverability in a small space. They have a smaller surface area, which reduces drag, and shorter wingspans for increased agility.

Indoor wingsuits are typically made of lightweight materials like spandex or Lycra and are skin-tight to reduce drag. They often have a padded chest and back to protect the flyer from the force of the wind in the wind tunnel. Additionally, they may have grips on the arms and legs to provide better control and grip in the wind tunnel.

Outdoor wingsuits, on the other hand, are designed for BASE jumping or skydiving, where they are used to glide through the air for long distances. These wingsuits have a larger surface area and longer wingspans to provide lift and increase the glide ratio.

They are made of more durable materials like nylon or polyester, with reinforced seams and zippers to withstand the forces of the wind and the impact of landings.

Where Can You Go Wingsuit Flying in a Wind Tunnel?

The first indoor wingsuit flying center was opened in 2017 in Stockholm. Since then, indoor wingsuit flying has become more popular and the first facility for indoor wingsuit flying in the US was built in Orlando in 2022.

That being said, enjoy your free fall!

Photo Credits

Richard Schneider from Los Angeles, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, feature and gallery picture, resized and cropped

Kai Schmidt

Hi, I'm Kai. The first time I jumped out of an airplane and experienced free fall was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For me, skydiving does not only stand for freedom and independence but being present in the moment and being respectful to others and oneself. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

Recent Posts