Skydiving indoors? Landing soon in downtown San Diego

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indoorskydiving1Rock-climbing inside a building? Okay, that’s been done. Swimming indoors? Maybe a novelty long ago, commonplace now. Skydiving indoors, in downtown San Diego? Now that’s something new.

Skydive San Diego, a company operated by Coronado businessman Buzz Fink, plans to make this new idea a reality on the corner of Imperial Avenue and 14th Street in the East Village of Downtown San Diego. Fink currently runs a conventional, outdoor parachute jumping facility, Outdoor Skydive San Diego, in Jamul.

The new location will cost around $10 million to construct, and will feature two 30 foot tall, 14 foot wide glass tubes for “jumpers” and two giant fans to lift the “skydivers” up to six feet into the air for up to two minutes at a time. In addition to becoming a tourist destination, Fink plans to make the indoor aerial arena available to local military personnel for training purposes. It is believed this will be the first such arrangement with two wind tunnels in the world.

Buzz Fink related how he has spent a considerable amount of money on research for the indoor skydiving facility, even having a working model built at one-tenth size. From that, an analysis of the air flow was conducted to allow the design of the full-size version to be as efficient as possible.

Permits to begin building are now being sought, and projections are that construction will begin early in 2015. The plan is for Skydive San Diego to open its doors and turn on its fans to the public by the beginning of 2016. There will reportedly be up to 100 employees hired to work at the indoor skydiving plant.

indoorskydiving3While outdoor skydiving is normally done at or around 13,000 feet up, the fans providing the wind at the indoor facility will simulate jumping from that height by producing winds around 60 miles per hour. For experienced jumpers or military training, the fans can be cranked up to 180 mph, which is about the wind speed of a category 5 hurricane.

I can’t wait to try it!

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