Hurricane Factory – wind tunnel
Indoor Skydiving in Schönefeld
tl;dr: Flying in a wind tunnel is fun and a really good bad-weather activity if you have some money to spend.
Let’s be honest, at Berlin on Bike we’re not only checking out activities for our readers and guests. In fact, quite a few of the things we introduced here over the years are stuff we wanted to do anyway. Writing a blog post about them, is just a convenient excuse to do so, during working hours. But, since we have excellent taste (ahum) we’re pretty sure most of them are of interest to you as well.
The latest such endeavor was a visit at Hurricane Factory in Schönefeld. The idea behind these wind tunnels is simple; you get a big-ass air blower/fan, dig a hole for it, point it straight up and put a tunnel around it, so no one flies away on the sides. Then you stick people in free fall suits, give them 20 minutes of introductions, et voila – flying humans/indoor skydiving. Of course it isn’t really free fall but with windspeeds of 160km/h it sure feels that way and it’s more than enough to blow you away (pun intended, even if it’s stupid). As far as bad weather activities in Berlin go, this is hard to beat, even if you never did it before, although it’s hugely popular as a training facility for skydivers as well. When we visited there was a Slovakian troupe of pros training formation flights and changes. And then there is a whole community that creates intricate dance moves that only work in a tunnel.
The only drawback is the fact, that Hurricane Factory sits in Schönefeld, right beside a S-Bahn station that will open when the new airport does, whenever that might be. On the other hand, if you ride the train to Schönefeld airport and then take your bikes it’s just a 15-minute ride and there’s a bus running. It’s a bit of a trip, but totally worth it. The facilities are light and friendly with large free spaces, seminar rooms a bistro and an amphitheatre-like lounge from which to watch to others. Compared to other action-sports places it looks quite cozy and modern – prosaic but comfortable and just extremely utalitarian. It seems like a good location for company incentives and we can probably combine it with a longer bike tour to create a nice package. For the moment I’d like to thank our instructor Anna and Julia from the Hurricane Factory office for inviting us and Carmen und Judith from our event team for being good sports about the whole thing.
After a short introduction, defining a small set of gestures to communicate in the gale of the wind tunnel and after being given a suit, goggles and a helmet, our two guinea pigs are good to go. It was rather funny to see, how facial expressions of my team mates changed over the course of an hour. Right at the start everyone was relaxed and maybe a little bit excited, but during the introduction everyone was increasingly concentrated and hints of doubt were creeping into people’s expression, to be replaced by slightly nervous posturing and joking while suiting up. Inside the wind tunnel it was all intense concentration that led to exhaustive smiles and overall hilarity.
Infobox Hurricane Factory
Wassmannsdorfer Allee 3
12529 Schönefeld OT Wassmannsdorf
T: +49 (0)3379 3217380
firstname.lastname@example.org / Internet www.hurricanefactory.com/berlin