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  • April 26, 2015

Community Events: Learning how to fly

Chamber members do some fun floating at SkyDive Tunnel mixer

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Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013 1:00 am

The Eloy Chamber of Commerce doesn’t let the doldrums of summer get the business community down. To keep its members engaged in thinking about Eloy commerce throughout the heat of summer, a mixer held at SkyVenture Arizona got everyone up in the air.

Seriously. Up in the air. Flying. Chamber member business SkyVenture Arizona is home to an indoor skydiving wind tunnel. Mixer participants had the opportunity to don flight suits, goggles and helmets and give it a whirl.

With the help of the instructors, about 20 people took a turn in the wind tunnel, which mimics what it would be like to skydive. After a brief instructional video detailing the proper position for skydiving, groups of four to five people entered the enclosed area that leads to the Plexiglas-covered round tunnel.

Giant fans send a strong current of air upward, which keeps flyers aloft. Instructors go into the tunnel and give signals to make sure the flyer keeps the proper position with the arms out and the knees slightly bent, and chin up.

During the mixer, a raffle was held, and one of the prizes was a free skydiving session. Eloy Planning and Zoning Planner Belinda Cruz won the prize and told the instructors she would be looking forward to the experience.

While this writer did not intend to participate, the excitement and enthusiasm running throughout the mixer, from the members to the SkyVenture instructors, impelled me to join in.

Just watching the others go first was an adrenaline rush, knowing that I would soon be flying in the wind tunnel. When you enter the tunnel, it’s almost like a trust exercise … you cross your arms over your chest and fall forward into the tunnel.

The instructor was there, however, to guide me into the center of the tunnel and make sure I held the correct position. Some of the participants were better at this than others. Between my excitement and trepidation, it was difficult to concentrate and keep the proper position. I didn’t run into any walls or anything, but as I began to be lifted higher and higher above the metal-mesh floor of the tunnel, I couldn’t help but let out a little scream.

The force of the air provided an unusual sensation in that it was so strong, your sinuses were affected and there was a great deal of pressure against your arms and shoulders. Signs warn people with shoulder problems not to attempt the wind tunnel. While according to doctors, I don’t have any “pathology” in my shoulders, the air pressure was a bit uncomfortable.

However, a couple participants who were willing to go back in with the instructor had an extra-special experience as the instructor had a hold of them and took them flying high into the heights of the tunnel, which looks to be 20-30 feet from the mesh to the vent fans at the top. I wished my shoulder would have allowed me to try that, but I’m sure I would have screamed every inch of the way up the tunnel. There’s a fine line between fear and fun, at least for me anyway!

If your business is not a member of the Eloy Chamber of Commerce, you ought to join. It’s a great way for networking with business contacts as well as all of the benefits that come with membership in a chamber of commerce. Thanks to Belinda Akes of the Eloy Chamber of Commerce and everyone at SkyVenture for encouraging everyone to try out the wind tunnel and making it a really fun Chamber mixer.

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