Indoor Skydiving vs. Outdoor Skydiving

June 11, 2024

Looking for a new aerial adventure but unsure where to start? The popularity of indoor skydiving offers additional options for those looking to experience human flight, but it can also make booking your skydiving experience more confusing. Understanding the difference between indoor skydiving vs outdoor skydiving can help you decide which is the right choice for you. The main takeaway is that outdoor skydiving and skydiving indoors offer different ways to experience the same sensation.


Freefall is the part of skydiving that happens once you exit the airplane and fall through the air at 120 mph. However, while indoor wind tunnels and real skydiving share some commonalities, they offer an incredibly different experience. 


To understand traditional skydiving vs indoor skydiving, let's break down the basics of each experience.





We’ll start with some straightforward definitions of indoor vs outdoor skydiving.


Indoor Skydiving

What is indoor skydiving, exactly? An indoor wind tunnel (see: giant tube) is equipped with a giant fan that creates enough airflow to support the weight of several bodies and simulate the experience of freefall. 


Outdoor Skydiving

Skydiving is about more than just the jump. You’ll get to experience the culture of the dropzone: experienced jumpers playing in the sky, family-like camaraderie, and the buzz of adrenaline hanging in the air. And then, of course, there’s the jump. The sky, the sun, the endless views. It’s an experience like nothing else! 


outdoor skydiving



It’s also important to understand the requirements to participate in each activity because they are actually very different. Indoor skydiving or outdoor skydiving may be more accessible to you depending on your capabilities. 


Indoor Skydiving Requirements 

  • Weight: 250 lbs or less
  • Age: 3 years old


Tandem Skydiving Requirements


 As you can see, outdoor skydiving has a lot more restrictions than flying in the indoor tunnel. That’s because traditional skydiving has more risk involved, and there are a lot more moving parts to the process. As a result, indoor skydiving is a great option for people who are too young to skydive or have other physical restrictions that may make jumping out of an airplane difficult. 



The Process


In both indoor and outdoor skydiving, customers walk in, fill out a waiver, attend a safety briefing, and fly at a scheduled time. The check-in process for both experiences is similar, but that’s about where the consistencies end.


Gearing up is a bit different between indoor and outdoor skydiving. Outdoor skydiving requires a lot more equipment (a parachute, for example), and both you and your instructor will need specific pieces of gear for a successful skydive. Indoor skydiving requires a jumpsuit, goggles, and a helmet, and you’re good to go. 


Another big difference in the process is the duration. You might be wondering: how long does indoor skydiving last? The flight itself usually lasts about 2 minutes, and your whole visit will be done in about an hour or two. 


That’s because indoor skydiving is extremely predictable because, well, it’s indoors! Because skydiving is an outdoor sport, your adventure is 100% weather related and the time that you spend at a skydiving center can be anywhere from two hours up to the better part of a day. You may even have to reschedule if Mother Nature is being particularly uncooperative. 


But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll quickly notice during your visit that hanging out on the ground and building relationships is just as important to skydivers as the skydiving is! 


outdoor skydiving



Q. How Are Indoor Wind Tunnels And Skydiving Alike?  


A. Outdoor skydiving and indoor wind tunnels both offer an amazing experience of body flight. You can control your body and fly in both! With enough practice, it is possible to control your body on your belly, in a sit-fly position, or even upside down on your head.


Q. Does indoor skydiving feel the same as outdoor skydiving?


A. The sensation of freefall feels the same on the body whether you’re inside or outside, but the views are quite a bit different. The level of stress is also increased when jumping out of an airplane for real, so the mental and emotional sensation of outdoor skydiving is a completely different experience than indoor skydiving. 


Q. What is the risk of indoor skydiving?


A. While skydivers do everything in their power to mitigate the risk of jumping out of airplanes, the risk associated with indoor skydiving is still lower. The most common injuries people experience during indoor skydiving are bumps and bruises from running into the tunnel wall. 


Q. Why do skydivers use Indoor wind tunnels? 


A. Everyone from student skydivers to the pros use tunnels to train and improve their freefall skills. Students can practice in the tunnel with their instructors, and professionals can train with their teams before competitions. Taking away the distractions created by flying in an airplane, landing a parachute and the fear of skydiving itself creates a more focused platform to begin training in.


Q. Do you wear shoes indoor skydiving?


A. Yes! It’s important to protect all parts of the body whether you’re skydiving indoors or out. 


indoor skydiving


Q. What are the differences between indoor and outdoor skydiving? 


A. Outdoor skydiving comes with so much more to experience than the indoor wind tunnel. The major differences are: 


Airplane Flight

When going on a skydive, you must first get in an airplane and fly as high as 14,000 feet. The airplane ride at Skydive Danielson flies over the scenic country view of the Last Green Valley. Newport, the Boston skyline, Hartford, and Providence can all be seen from above. This plane ride lasts 20 minutes and helps you mentally prepare for your skydive.


Parachute Ride

After your freefall is over, the parachute is your ticket to a safe landing. Flying under a brightly colored parachute is an invigorating sensation filled with peace and serenity. After the intense experience of freefall, the parachute ride is comforting and calm to first-time skydivers. 


Is indoor skydiving worth it? Check out the indoor skydiving center convenient to you and, once you're ready for the real deal, book your skydive with us here at Skydive Danielson! Blue skies!


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