Posted on June 2nd, 2010 by .

Who wouldn’t test run something called “the happiness machine”?

Sounds a heck of a lot less daunting than skydiving, and it costs less too.

So what is it?!

The “happiness machine” is a freefall simulator or wind tunnel, that mimics the experience of skydiving, or flying. Montreal has 2 such glee-makers – the only ones in Canada – including the Aerodium , an outdoor tunnel conveniently located on Parc Jean-Drapeau that operates in summer, and Skyventure, an indoor complex that operates year round.

For novice skydivers and thrill-seekers alike, these wind tunnels are the best way to get your adrenalin rush on, without actually hurling yourself out of a plane at 16,000 feet. Or so says my friend Paul Litherland , an experienced skydiver and recent convert to wingsuit flying, who’s working on an art project about his skydiving experiences called Terror&Bliss. (That’s him “business-suitflying” above!) An introductory package to flying costs 65$.

If you want to drop out of a real plane, you’ve got to find a Parachuting Centre. These are often called drop zones by skydivers. Here’s a list of all the Drop Zones in Quebec

The nearest Drop Zones to Montreal are: Voltige 2001, near Notre Dame de Lourdes. Parachute Montreal, near Saint Esprit. Nouvel Air, near Farnham.  Parachutisme Adrenaline, near Saint Jerome.

The price ranges from $265 (weekdays) to $285 (weekends) per jump, any time between May to mid-October, weather permitting. If you’re a first-time jumper, you can either tandem jump or try an instructor-assisted deployment (IAD). For a Tandem jump, you only need a 20-minute training course, which really doesn’t sound like much. But that’s because the instructor you’re harnessed to does the hard work for you. IAD requires a four- to five-hour course because you jump solo, even though your instructor opens your parachute almost as soon as you exit the plane. For an additional fee, most skydiving companies will also make a fun video of your experience. Happy flying!


  1. joseph

    / Sep 21st

    how can i make my first jump and when

  2. yannick

    / Feb 9th

    i would like to skydiving this summer ,it my bucket list

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