Airborne San Diego: Help Your Employees Reach New Heights

Note: Airborne San Diego has permanently closed.

Looking to add a bit of thrill to your work life? This adrenaline-pumping, heart-racing activity is sure to bring your employees closer together! I’d love to introduce you today to Airborne San Diego. Airborne San Diego’s brand new facilities in the heart of San Diego is the perfect, totally unique adventure designed to create strong, lasting bonds among your team.

Airborne San Diego Highlights

Anna Calisse, the general manager at Airborne San Diego, filled me in on all of the things the company can offer your team! While it might seem intimidating at first, the staff at Airborne works hard to provide a safe, educational, comfortable experience for everyone, that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Here are some highlights from our interview:

  • Airborne San Diego is very unique in that it has not one, but TWO wind tunnels, so they can send twice as many people through as the average facility! You also get the benefit of longer flight rotations than the industry standard.
  • They take pride in their state of the art, brand new facilities that accommodate all of your group’s needs: space for catering, a cafe with food and drinks, large event space with the latest technology, and comfortable outdoor patio space for hanging out post-flight!
  • No experience sky diving? No worries! The staff can walk you through everything you need to know from start to finish. Not only do you get to fly, but you also have the opportunity to learn about the science behind skydiving!
  • Great meeting facilities means that you have space to lead your team in bonding activities, or you can have the Airborne San Diego staff create competitive, fun activities that are sure to bring everyone closer together!

How to Find Airborne San Diego

It’s hard to beat Airborne San Diego’s convenient location right in the East Village of downtown San Diego! There is plenty of parking at the facilities. Come find them at 1401 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, California, 92101.

Team Building Activities at Airborne San Diego

There are a lot of components to your day with Airborne San Diego – check out what they have in store for you!

  1. Activities: The staff at Airborne San Diego would be happy to lead your group in an activity related to the skydiving experience! Learn about things like the force of drag and body position while falling, and apply that to a hands-on, fun activity such as building a parachute as a group! Compete against your colleagues to see who can build the best one!
  2. Tour: Go on a tour with your team around the building to get a behind-the-scenes look at their brand-new, state of the art indoor skydiving facilities! Learn how everything functions, led by an experienced staff member, and get an insider look at how indoor skydiving really works.
  3. Flight: Strap into your gear and get ready: it’s time to fly! Airborne San Diego offers each team member two separate flight rotations, each 1 minute and 15 seconds long. That’s 15 seconds longer than the industry standard!
  4. Bonding: The most important part of the day! Lounge in the gorgeous new facilities as a group and laugh over the photos and videos from everyone’s flights, cater using the kitchen or enjoy food at wine at the on-site cafe.

Interview with Anna from Airborne San Diego

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Interview Transcript

McKenzie: I just have some general questions about Airborne San Diego, and I would just love to hear more about your organization, and what y’all do.

Anna: Okay!

McKenzie: And this will have a specific focus on the team building events that y’all offer, and the corporate events.

Anna: So we look to be open hopefully in May, so we should be open for the summer. We are – I don’t know if you’re familiar with indoor skydiving facilities – but we have an indoor skydiving facility. And typically, what they are, they have a wind tunnel, and then a building around it with maybe, you know, a classroom, and maybe another corporate room for events and for birthday parties and for things like that. Our facility’s actually modelled after the facilities in Europe, which are full-service facilities, which means we not only cater to regional customers, but professional work as well. So, we actually have a cafe on-site, with food, drinks, we have wine, we have two dedicated event rooms, we have a barbeque terrace where people can either just chill and relax, or they can rent out for an event as well, and we are also the only facilities that have two wind tunnels. So we have two wind tunnels – which allows us to double the number of people we can put through them every hour, and allows us to have a bigger event. So our facility is about 26,000 square feet, where your usual one is maybe around 2-3,000 square feet. They’re usually pretty, pretty small.

McKenzie: Oh, wow, very cool.

Anna. Yeah. So as far as events go, that’s our big thing. That’s why we also wanted to be in a downtown location. Most of these wind tunnels, you find them on the outskirts of town, just because the land is cheaper, but we decided to invest a little bit more money to be in a downtown location. We’re right next to Pet Co Park, we are close to the convention center, public transportation, just to really make it an event site. And we want people to feel like, even if they don’t want to fly, or they could be skeptical about flying, they could still come, and it’s a place for them to hang out, see what it’s all about, they could hold their meeting, corporate events, without even flying if that’s not what they want to do.

McKenzie: That definitely makes sense. I’m sure you get a lot of people that are a little bit nervous at first about that whole process.

Anna: Yeah, very nervous, or they’re not sure exactly what it is, or what to expect, so by them being able to – you know, with several lounges and sitting areas, by them being able to see it a couple of times before, I think it makes them more comfortable with the actual understanding what they’re going to be doing, versus what you just might hear or think in your head.

McKenzie: Definitely. So this is something I actually have never had any experience with before – could you talk me through exactly what indoor skydiving is and how it works?

Anna: Yes. So basically, from a customer’s perspective, you could book online with us. For corporate parties or any type of event, we actually have a retail and events manager who will set up your event, basically, depending on exactly what it is that you want. So we can cater the event, we can just do pizza, we can just give you the event space, we have Apple TVs, phones in every event room, even if you wanted to hold a meeting. So basically from the customer’s standpoint, you come in, check in at our front desk, you sign a quick waiver, and basically you’re off to meet your instructor! The instructor will walk you through and give you a briefing of what’s going to happen in the wind tunnel, what the correct body position is, hand signals should they need to communicate with you, and kind of go over any questions or expectations of what’s gonna happen in the wind tunnel when you’re actually in it. He or she will then take you to the gear area, and fit you for a jumpsuit, helmet, and goggles, you’ll receive earplugs as well. And once you are ready to go, we have lockers that you can put your stuff away in. And then you’re off and ready to fly! And you basically have two different times that you go into the tunnel, so you get two flight rotations, each one is 1 minute and 15 seconds. So you’ll go in with your instructor, your instructor guides you into the wind, and you’ll basically fly around there and if he or she feels that you are doing a good enough job, they’ll kind of start to let you go, and let you figure your body out. It’s super fun, and even though it sounds like it’s not a lot of time, being in 120 MPH wind can be very exhausting – especially the first few times. Industry standard is to give you 1 minute rotations, so we’re already giving you 1 minute 15 second rotations, so with your two rotations, you’re already getting 30 seconds of extra time in the wind. We feel that that’s important for the instructors to actually be able to teach you something, is to give you that little amount of time, because when you first get into the wind tunnel, it can be a little bit overwhelming.

McKenzie: Oh, I bet, There’s a lot happening.

Anna: It takes a little time to relax.

McKenzie: Definitely. How did you get started with team building activities? What do those look like at Airborne San Diego?

Anna: So for team building, you can do it a couple of different ways. You know, some people have fun with – because we have two wind tunnels, we can actually book like- let’s say you have a company party because you’re celebrating that your team won something versus the other team, we can do kind of competitive stuff like that, we can do where the staff watches all their managers or supervisors fly before they do. There’s a fun – a bunch of different ways we can do it, and that’ll depend on what kind of event you want to have. Typically, you’ll come in and check in, and we’ll take you up to your own private event room, there’s also a kitchen up there, so you can lock everything, you can keep your stuff in there, your instructor will meet you up there and go over what’s going to happen, but you can use the room depending on if you want to, again, have something catered. We also, for team building, there’s different scenarios the instructors can run through with the staff, and again, this is all customized depending on what that company might want. So it really just depends on the situation. For example, we do a lot of school programs, just for kids, different ages, even up to college. We have different – I don’t want to say ‘games’ – but different kind of things that they’ll do while they’re in the event room, so we’ll have them build something and see how – you know, we’ll have them build little parachutes. Anything that’s relative to wind tunnels and wind tunnel technology so that they can see how everything works. We also do a tour of the facility, for any type of event – anything from a field trip to a team building corporate event where they will actually get to walk through the back of the house, which are the actual tunnel components, and how the wind tunnel actually works. And we kind of give them a quick run through and educate them on how the technology works.

McKenzie: Definitely. So they get an educational experience out of it as well as this really fun, thrilling experience, too.

Anna: Exactly. And even though some of the things are – I don’t want to say ‘childlike’, but for example we have them build these little parachutes. We basically break people up into teams and have them build their own, and we’re talking towards the end, we figure out like “what worked, whose was the best, why was it the best” and the instructor will run them through the forces of drag, why is that relative to a person’s body position or the size of the parachute, or what it is, and all this stuff that’s relative to the wind tunnel to help to give them a better understanding of it, and it also allows them to kind of compete with each other and do an activity that not only educates them on something, but allows them to have a lot of fun and be competitive with each other as well.

McKenzie: Yeah, definitely. And I’m sure that the hands-on element makes the learning a lot more of an engaging experience, too, instead of just sitting there and listening and learning. They get to really play with it themselves.

Anna: Exactly. And we’ll even do it in the wind tunnel. There’s clients in the industry that want to say “I want to see who can do the most turns” or “who can do this versus that” so there’s kind of a competition between that group and that event or that team-building, where it’s like “okay well let’s see who’s the best flier” by meeting these certain goals and these certain things that we want to see. And then somebody wins something at the end of the day.

McKenzie: Definitely. So when companies come to you, looking to start a team-building activity, and they want to build a program with you, what are usually their goals? What are they usually trying to gain from your events? And how do the activities y’all provide help them achieve that?

Anna: Usually, with this type of industry, it’s actually really simple. Most of them are just interested in the flying aspect, and kind of making fun of each other. They really want pictures and video of their colleagues in the wind tunnel. Most of the time, that’s what you actually get – people wanting the pictures, the videos, they kind of have something that they can make fun of each other and play around with each other in the future. And that’s just the biggest thing that we get – is that they want to be in a relaxed environment where – you know, a lot of people don’t even want to do the activities. We always have those ready to go, but there are a lot of times where they are just more interested in the flying itself, and then hanging out afterwards.

McKenzie: Right. So they’re trying to build these like personal relationships that they can take with them afterwards.

Anna: Exactly. And it’s – even though you’re in a safe and controlled environment, because it’s still kind of an adrenaline sport, it can still be very stressful. It really helps them build that relationship with each other. It’s extremely successful when you have management, and maybe their staff, supervisors, because now they – when you’re sitting on the bench about to go, everybody’s kind of scared. And so you’re all at the same level. And then when you get done, and you know that you did it, you have this great feeling of accomplishment. So most of the time for them, it’s just playing around and building that personal relationship. That’s what we’re trying to do with them as well – build that personal relationship with the client.

McKenzie: Yeah, definitely. Do you think there’s specific demographics that these activities serve best, or is it really good for a wide variety of people?

Anna: Traditionally, there is a bit of a certain demographic because the facilities aren’t designed to big events or anything like that, but with our facilities, that’s our goal. We want to cover all bases. And we’re going to be the first facility in the United States that can actually do that.

McKenzie: Yeah, absolutely. Very cool. So I’m sure this varies on a case to case basis, based on the group that you are working with and what services you provide, but for a corporate group, what does pricing generally look like?

Anna: Pricing is usually – it can run – so if you’re using both tunnels, we can put through 24 people every 30 minutes. So 40 people an hour. So it depends on the size of the group. If we were to take a group like that, you’re looking at – probably your cheapest is around 700 dollars, and then it ranges obviously up to like if you want to rent out the whole facility, which we’ve had people ask, that’s more like in the 24,000 dollar range. But usually we break it down to a price-per-head, and the price-per-head is usually around $65-70.

McKenzie: Okay, very cool.

Anna: Yeah. And that includes picture, video, just anything that they want to remember their experience with.

McKenzie: And you mentioned that catering can happen in y’all’s venue as well?

Anna: Yes. We have a kitchen and we figure that we might have some customers that might want something a little bit more – our cafe is limited on space – so it’s not like we’re doing sushi dinners or anything, but we have a line of vendors for if we have a major special event that somebody wants. You know, a little bit more up-scale, VIP kind of deal, we definitely have vendors set up for that, so we can accommodate that as well.

McKenzie: Okay. So I know you mentioned for the actual flight part, it’s a minute and 15 seconds per person, but what would be – what’s the average duration of an event for a corporate activity?

Anna: It’s going to be 3 to 4 hours at least. And 3-4 hours is just our most basic. There’s some people that want to do our event room, and they want to fly, and maybe they want to go hang out in the barbecue terrace, and have a couple of drinks, so that will depend on that, but I would say 3-4 hours at least.

McKenzie: Okay, cool. Great! That covers a lot of the things I wanted to ask you about. Is there anything else you want to share about Airborne San Diego, or anything you feel like we haven’t touched on yet?

Anna: Not really! It’s just going to be the first full service facility, is what I would kind of focus on. Unfortunately, because indoor skydiving isn’t that – it’s just now growing, not a lot of people know what it is, or are very familiar with it. But I think the fact that we offer different services like having the cafe, having beer and wine where you’re not forced to fly, having meeting area is really key, because people don’t feel like they have to fly to be here. They can just hang out and watch.

McKenzie: Right – you’re building a very comprehensive experience.

Anna: Yes.

McKenzie: Yeah. Absolutely. Very cool. Well, that wraps up what I have to ask you! Thank you so much for taking the time and talking with me.

Anna: If you have any questions, just let me know, or if you’re ever in town or something like that, and you want to swing by and check it out, let us know!

McKenzie: Yeah! Definitely! I appreciate you taking this time. Bye, Anna!

Airborne San Diego Reviews

Check out these great reviews of Airborne San Diego! Want more updates on their new space? Stay connected via Instagram, and Twitter!

This facility is truly amazing! It has it all, side by side tunnels, food and drinks from Breakaway, multilevel viewing areas, party rooms, and an open air barbecue section all within sight of Coronado and Petco Park. Get pumped! – Brian Gruber

Airborne San Diego is walking distance from San Diego’s Gas Lamp district. 14′ side by side tunnels. Very close to the Hwy 5 and the 163 hwy. The staff here are amazing and the layout of the facility is phenomenal! – Pepe El Toro

Are you looking forward to working with Airborne San Diego?

The opening of their new space is soon – have you booked your corporate group team building adventure yet? Who in your corporate office will be brave enough to try out this skydiving adventure? Have you ever been to an indoor skydiving facility? Let us know about your experience!