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Skydiving vs. Indoor Skydiving

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Whether you have heard of indoor skydiving or not, the term itself sounds intriguing – but how exactly does it compare to real skydiving? Here, we’ve got the full comparison to give you a better understanding of the similarities and differences between indoor skydiving and outdoor skydiving, and we’ll bet that the answer might surprise you.

What is Indoor Skydiving?

Indoor skydiving is a sport that emulates the freefall portion of skydiving by using a specifically designed vertical wind tunnel. With vertical wind tunnels popping up all over the US, indoor skydiving is gaining a lot of popularity. Indoor skydiving not only offers a great opportunity for eager first-time flyers to experience what it may feel like to skydive forreal – it also is used as a wonderful training tool for students and experienced skydivers to practice their freefall skills. But it usually stops there.

indoor skydivers

Is Indoor Skydiving Fun?

The indoor skydiving experience is a lot of fun but simply pales in comparison to the experience you’ll get with an actual skydive. Indoor skydiving is a useful tool and a unique/fun experience that does a great job of imitating the freefall sensation, however, it lacks the life-affirming beauty that comes with making a real skydive. The mental challenge, sense of empowerment, new perspective, and the lovely dopamine dump are not only what makes outdoor skydiving fun – skydiving will straight-up enrich your life.

Indoor Skydiving vs Outdoor

When comparing indoor skydiving and outdoor skydiving, the truth is indoor just doesn’t compare to the skydiving experience as a whole. Yeah, you’ll get a similar freefall sensation – but other than that, it can be a very different experience altogether. Because skydiving is more than just falling from planes; it’s a challenging accomplishment that you will carry with you for a lifetime.

Even if you compare the freefall in a skydive and indoor skydiving, they are still pretty different. With indoor skydiving, you’ll get the same 120 mph winds rushing all over your face and body, and you’ll be able to fly around as you would in the sky. However, you’re missing out on the best parts – the feeling of exiting the airplane and reaching terminal velocity, the incredible views, the different densities of the air, and the fact that you’re in the freakin’ sky!

The Similarities of Skydiving vs Indoor Skydiving

120+ mph winds

Most vertical wind tunnels in the US top out at around 165 mph.


Bodyflight is pretty similar but not exactly. Your fall rate is relative in the sky, whereas it is set in the wind tunnel. To fly in the tunnel, you have to adjust your body position to match the set wind speed. In the sky, your fall rate is determined by your terminal velocity (the air resistance created by body mass, air density, and surface area). You can see how flying in the wind tunnel may limit your flying capabilities. 

Not to mention, you fly just your body in the wind tunnel, taking away the impact of wearing a skydiving rig or being attached to an experienced tandem instructor.

skydiving equipment basics | skydive orange

The Differences Between Skydiving vs Indoor Skydiving


The average exit altitude for skydiving is around 10,000 ft (Skydive Orange lets you out at around 13,500 ft — WOO!). With indoor skydiving, participants enter the wind tunnel through a door that is located next to the wind tunnel. The indoor skydiver won’t experience the feeling of freedom that comes with jumping from an airplane, they simply lay on the wind.


An obvious, or not so obvious, difference between indoor skydiving and outdoor is the fact that there is no parachute when indoor skydiving. Outdoor skydiving includes a relaxing, and often reflective, canopy ride back to the ground which offers stellar views and an oddly peaceful experience following the rush of your life! Indoor skydiving focuses solely on the bodyfilght aspect of skydiving.


Indoor skydiving facilities cater to almost all ages; many engage participants as young as 3 years old! Most skydiving centers in the US require skydivers to be at least 18 years of age.


Along with the physical differences between skydiving and indoor skydiving, there are vastly different mental and emotional differences. With indoor skydiving, there is no real personal challenge or mental breakthrough. Skydiving offers a challenging experience that teaches an invaluable life lesson that you will remember for years to come. Skydiving is one of the most incredible things you’ll ever do, whereas indoor skydiving is just that fun thing you did that one time (if we’re being honest).

If you’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime, we would love to show you how nothing can truly compare to an authentic skydiving experience. Book your skydive with Virginia’s premier drop zone – Skydive Orange. Blue skies, friends!

Ben Vickers

Radford, VA

The first time you skydive is a tremendous event in your life. And I am so lucky to have found Skydive Orange.

The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

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