Video:Flying Without Skydiving at New Hampshire's SkyVenturewith Kim Knox Beckius
Have you ever dreamed of defying gravity, but are too scared to take the leap out of an airplane? Take a look at this alternative way to fly in New Hampshire.See Transcript
Transcript:Flying Without Skydiving at New Hampshire's SkyVentureFlying without skydiving: It sounds like a dream come true… a way to cross a big goal off your bucket list without risking the possibility that it might be the last item you ever check off! Seven days a week year-round, SkyVenture in Nashua, New Hampshire, makes the dream of body flight a reality for both serious skydivers—like these instructors who make it look effortless—and for mere mortals, like me and my family.
I'm Kim Knox Beckius, About.com's New England Travel Guide, and I am definitely more Lois Lane than Superwoman. Could I really defy gravity, ride 134 mile-per-hour winds, use my scrawny little arms as wings - and live to tell about it? More worrisome, would my husband and I be thoroughly outdone in our attempts to conquer the vertical wind tunnel by our six-year-old daughter?
Preparing to FlyAfter a brief training class, where we learned the hand signals Ed Kaminski, our instructor, would use to communicate with us in the vertical wind tunnel, we donned flight suits, knee and elbow pads, goggles and ear plugs. Who knew? You don't need a cape to fly!
When Ed asked who wanted to fly first, my family looked at me: the woman who never says "no" to a new New England experience. Remembering that Rob Greer, who co-owns SkyVenture with his wife, Laurie, had told me—"The Girl Scouts were here yesterday"—I put my trust in Ed and spread my arms in flight.
The Flying ExperienceFlying is NOT as easy as it looked. At least not at first. Let me reassure you, though. No actual travel writers were injured during the making of this video. Although doing the two things Ed said were most important—relaxing and breathing normally—did not come easily, I was never for a moment scared or even nervous while in flight. Only frustrated that staying aloft was proving a challenge.
Safety of FlyingSkyVenture is safe for virtually anyone, from kids as young as 3 to seniors in their 90s. It's a memorable bonding experience for families, corporate groups… even bachelor parties. There are just a few restrictions, including a weight limit of 250 pounds.
Typical Flight SessionsWe each flew for three two-minute sessions. By round two, my daughter was demanding to go first, and my husband was starting to get the hang of it. I was still crashing and burning. Rob wasn't kidding when he'd told me: "Its definitely a sport. You're manipulating your body in hurricane-force winds. Every minute of flight time in the tunnel," he explained, "is equivalent to one or two tandem skydives."
By my third two-minute session in the 40-foot wind tunnel, I finally felt as though I could indeed relax and enjoy the freedom and novelty of flying. Joe Winters, who trains SkyVenture instructors worldwide, even taught us all a few tricks.
When our flying time was up, our instructors put on an impressive show… and told us how well we had done.
When we look back on our SkyVenture adventure, well forget how much we drooled in flight, how dorky our flapping cheeks looked, and how our arms and glutes ached for a few days afterward. Well only remember the feeling of accomplishment as we exchanged high-fives, the smile on our daughters face, and the awe and jealousy expressed by friends and colleagues when they heard about our exhilarating experience.
Thank you for joining me in New Hampshire. This is Kim Knox Beckius for About.com, wishing you memorable moments and soft landings wherever you travel in New England.