Gone with the wind: A look at indoor skydiving in Korea
If you’ve always wanted to try skydiving but cringe at the thought of jumping out of a perfectly safe plane and free falling back to Earth with only a silk chute to ensure your safe return, then Yongin’s Fly Station is the place for you.
No plane. No parachute. No fear of landing in a tree or water hazard. Just a 220 miles-per-hour wind blasting your body upward as you “free fall” in a wind tunnel. This ‘indoor skydiving’ experience is said to replicate the feeling of a free fall as you float horizontally midair.
Having never tried indoor (nor outdoor) skydiving but willing to take a leap, I thought visiting the recently opened Fly Station in Yongin would be the best place to try it out.
As I arrived at Fly Station, I was pumped to jump. But, before I had the opportunity to try my first “jump,” I had to undergo a 30-minute-long safety training. After signing a safety waiver, an instructor went over basic skills and maneuvers.
“Unlike with outdoor skydiving … you can quickly learn basic and advanced skills at Fly Station because you can try indoor skydiving repeatedly as many times as you want,” said Jeong Minsik , my dive instructor. “Once you have completed the basic experience program, you can get used to belly flying with the help of one of our coaches.”
After the training, which included how to move up and down and forward and backward, I was outfitted with a flight suit, helmet, earplugs and goggles and led to the wind tunnel area. I jumped in and the force of the wind immediately held me suspended in air. I could feel my mouth peeling from my teeth and, were it not for the goggles, I probably wouldn’t have been able to see.
The employees working the wind tunnel controlled the speed and strength of the wind. So, at certain points my body was lifted eight meters up and then a few meters down again. Though the instructor was in the tunnel guiding me, the feeling of falling was thrilling every time the wind pressure in the tunnel was changed.
But the time does go by quickly. I was in the tunnel for two minutes, which cost 66,000 won ($66). So, it’s not cheap, but it sure was a blast. Now I’m thinking doing the real thing. But, do I really want to jump out of a plane? We’ll see.
Things to know
Address: 21, Seongsan-ro, Pogok-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
Operating hour: Mon-Sun, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Those who weigh less than 125kg (275lbs) can experience it. Group discounts vary depending on a number of people. (at least 12 people)
URL: http://www.flystation.kr/main/main.html (KOR only)
Camp Humphreys → Fly Station 1hr
Osan Air Base → Fly Station 43min
Pyeongtaek statin → Guseong station 50min → Take a Shuttle bus(Reservations are necessary) → Fly Station
Contact Number: 1855-3946 (ENG/ KOR)
Querencia serves of tasty Italian
If you like Italian food, try ‘Querencia’ on the first floor of the Fly Station building. The newly opened Querencia serves up not only “authentic Italian,” but also “Italian-Korean fusion.”
Kim Yongho, head chef at the restaurant, has over 20 years of experience cooking at Italian restaurants in Italy and it really shows.
“We have our own kitchen garden to use fresh herbs and vegetables,” Kim said. “Unlike a franchise restaurant, we make and use our own sauces and sausage.”
I went for the basic Margherita Fresca Pizza (around $17) with prosciutto served with mozzarella and topped with basil and olives. The prosciutto had a nice buttery texture and the pizza crust was crisp on the outside and soft inside. I could taste the freshness of the sauce, and the basil and mozzarella added the right amount of flavor. I loved the fresh mozzarella most and it went perfectly with the local craft beers Querencia serves up cold.
The diving left me hungry, so I also ordered a carbonara pasta half-order. Topped with a cloud egg, the creamy and saucy pasta did not disappoint. At the end of my meal, my plates were wiped clean. The chef’s experience and use of fresh ingredients was evident in every bite I took.
The menu prices won’t break the bank and the helpings are plentiful, so when you’re done jumping, land yourself at Querencia.