1. There are absolutes. The tunnel while teaching someone who has 0-100 jumps can give them some overconfidence in their abilities, the vast majority of people who will be using the tunnel during their first 100 jumps, do not progress to a skill level beyond just basic belly flying competency. It is rare that someone can do head down outward facing carving 4 ways in the tunnel and have never jumped from a plane once, and do intend to do it. I would say the only people that fall into this category, are children under the age of 18, or employees of the tunnel. (there are always a few that are not jumpers or have not jumped yet). For the people with a few hundred jumps under their belt, they are experienced enough to understand what tunnel time is for and its benefits, have had enough jumps overall to develop their safety skill set.
2. The one thing I will say about the attitude, part of tunnel jumpers, is that tunnels are not in a bubble.
All the tunnels I have been to have be riddled with skydivers, unless you show up at the time that they have childrens parties, but most of the time its skydivers.
They are always happy to impart words of wisdom and coaching, just like at the DZ, and all this stuff that we are talking about here, gets passed on there as well.
The instructors I've had in the tunnel, even the ones who have never actually made a skydive, but have hundreds of hours flying in the tunnel always seem to the be first to chime in how little they know about it. So even the few that are not jumpers but have hundreds of hours in the tunnel do not come across as arrogant or flippant of the risks, it seems the opposite because there are a million jumpers there telling them just what the risks are.
I am one of these people who does have more tunnel time than freefall time, because there is a tunnel a couple miles down the road from me, and I am a new jumper, and weather and the end of the season prevented more jumping. I've been in the tunnel with jumpers who have had thousands of jumps going in there the first time and I could out "fly" them in the tunnel no problem, but no way in hell am I a better skydiver. The tunnel has differences, in freefall you control the speed, not the guy on the booth. In a 4 way, you cant use the glass to hold your position with your feet like you can in the tunnel. All the fancy running up the glass,holding onto the air returns etc, no relevance to skydiving, it might as well becirque du soleil at that point. The reason I like the tunnel is safety, is I can learn new things safely before practicing them in the sky, in terms of freefall skills (tracking and exits etc withstanding). I can't take a canopy course there though, but I most likely can find the contact of someone who teaches the course during my time at the tunnel.
my 2 cents from a noob
(This post was edited by Austintxflight on Dec 10, 2011, 2:43 PM)