All night flying Nov. 8

By Tracey Arial

SkyVenture holds the first Nuit Blanche of the season next Saturday night, Nov. 8.

The event takes place on location at 2700 Cosmodôme. It starts at 11 p.m. and finishes at 8 a.m.

“It’s always booked the whole night,” said company marketing coordinator, Catherine Carignan. “Skydivers and tunnel flyers can book flights in ten-minute blocks for only $115 including tax, instead of the usual $200 plus tax. People like it because they can fly for cheaper and longer and that’s a whole motivation for people.”

SkyVenture uses a recirculating vertical wind tunnel to reproduce the free-fall portion of a skydiver’s jump. Skydivers use the facilities to train, but others have taken up the sport in its own right.

The first version opened in Orlando, Florida in 1998, but there are now 28 around the world and six others in construction. The Laval facility was the first of its type in Canada when it opened five years ago. There’s now one in Toronto too.

“We get a lot of skydivers who finished their season in mid-October and begin training inside,” said Carignan. “We also get our usual flyers. It’s cool to get together with all the people that you know. Skydivers and tunnel flyers all share the love of the sport. They have the same passion, which is flying, so it brings people together.”

To participate in Nuit Blanche, you have to complete an introductory wind training package, which is a minimum of two flights, before the evening begins, but you can also just watch if you prefer.

“Since it’s so busy, the Nuit Blanche is also a great time for spectators to stop by,” said Carignan. “There are people from all levels who fly, but most likely they would see a pro flyer. That’s a show in itself. It’s really impressive to see how fast they can go.”

SkyVenture plans to hold three Nuit Blanches Saturdays during the 2014/15 season. The first takes place in the fall (Nov. 8), another in the winter (Jan. 24) and one in the spring (March 28) because a national wind tunnel competition takes place at their facility in Toronto on March 21.

For more information, call [514] 524-4000 or visit their website.
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