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This time, my thoughts don't really have to wander that far off when they asked me and their BSM audience what every drop zone should have, next to a jump plane and a person to fly it. Huh, the answer to that question came easier to me than any other ones in the past. Of course, each drop zone should have a wind tunnel.
I just checked the Sun Path Products NSL News updates of the past week, and I could not believe my own eyes: the last eight stories consecutively covered indoor events. OK, not all of them focused only on wind tunnel activities. I am still running the National Skydiving League and the emphasis is on "skydiving." There is that wonderful bridge that connects wind tunnel flyers with jump planes - whether this has been the intention of the wind-tunnel operators or not.
Here is one story quickly, which is an impossible one: The Indoor Cloud League teams of iFLY Orlando (Florida Skydiving League) and iFLY SF Bay (Northern California Skydiving League) have posted scores and videos month by month throughout the whole year. They are now (at the end of November) separated by one single point. What's so special about that? The totals are 1338 - 1337 after 11 months...
It is also wintertime in many parts of the skydiving world, which in the past put many of us in hibernation for a while, possibly interrupted by a trip to Florida or Arizona, maybe Spain. Now there is no real winter break any longer, as indoor training and meets are available almost anywhere in the world. My own winter break has become history. Well, I am just kidding, as I live in Florida, where winter is the best time of the year.
The indoor - outdoor combo is not extremely popular yet for DZ operators. Many of them still see wind tunnels as competition for their actual business. This is not the time to discuss this issue; I may come back to it later.
More importantly, obstacles are more on the other side. Wind tunnel investors are not highly motivated to build them at or near drop zones. They have a different clientele in mind for their business and they try to locate the new tunnels in highly populated areas to attract any human being to take a flight.
However, there are a few drop zones with that dream combination: Dubai, Empuriabrava, Eloy, Perris. Paraclete is pretty close, with the Raeford drop zone only a few miles away, and Russia is building a brand-new combo from scratch in Grozny.
So it's not only a dream or a vision of mine that a drop zone should have a wind tunnel as a part of the facilities. It's been my dream and vision for a long time as DeLand, where I live, does not have that indoor - outdoor combo yet. I still cannot imagine a better situation, even if you live in Florida.
I don't even want to get started about the incentive options and opportunities that the operator of an indoor - outdoor combo has to create an incredible playground for skydivers and potential customers - who are literally every human being.
Getting people to the wind tunnel that is located at a drop zone? Huh, piece of cake these days with all the marketing tools and experiences. Imagine the whuffos coming to the combo playground after seeing ads or hearing about it. They can fly right away and then watch DZ activities, which is always fun for them, in my observations. They may sign up for a tandem next, or not, and just come back for more tunnel flying. Imagine you also have a playground there for the kids. What a fun day for the whole family. All right, all right, I am getting carried away - which was the purpose this month, right, SkyGod...?