Today, Sky Venture announced its acquisition of TunnelCamp.com and the construction of Sky Venture Arizona. Alan Metni, former Arizona Airspeed member and owner of TunnelCamp.com, will join Sky Venture as its CEO. Sky Venture also made public its immediate expansion into new markets with tunnels slated for construction in Southern California, New Jersey, Chicago and Texas. Sky Venture recently begun franchise operations in Malaysia and is building a tunnel in the UK for its military. The company has the capacity and financial ability to build multiple units simultaneously.
Sky Venture Arizona - a second generation Vertical Wind Tunnel located just outside Phoenix - will be less than 20 minutes drive from Sky Harbor Airport and 45 minutes from Skydive Arizona. Site selection, financing and design are complete and the company has begun fabrication of the enormous steel superstructure and components. Sky Venture Arizona will reportedly be faster, smoother and quieter than previous Sky Venture tunnels and superior to any other known design. Sky Venture Arizona will produce 45% more horsepower than its Florida predecessor and will be optimized for the sport skydiving and military markets (as part of the expansion plan, the Florida tunnel will also undergo substantial upgrades). Sky Venture has filed for additional patents on many of the improvements.
Bill Kitchen is the inventor of the Sky Venture Vertical Wind Tunnel and the majority owner of Sky Venture. Kitchen built Sky Venture Florida as a working prototype in 1997. Its unique design employs multiple ducted fans situated above the air column to provide a flying experience almost identical to free fall. The device has not only proved the concept but has been operating profitably for the last three years. Recently, teams and individuals of all skill levels have flooded Sky Venture with business. As a result, Sky Venture Florida is now running over-capacity, often booked weeks or months in advance. The upsurge in demand has prompted the large expansion program announced by the company today. The company recently completed the engineering and plans for a recirculating tunnel to be used in colder climates.
Alan Metni is a former member and manager of the United States National Formation Skydiving Team, Arizona Airspeed, and the owner of TunnelCamp.com. TunnelCamp.com has both benefited from and contributed to Sky Venture's success. TunnelCamp.com has trained more than 350 skydivers of all experience levels at SkyVenture. Its popular training camps are generally sold out 45 to 60 days in advance. TunnelCamp.com has flown more than 900 hours at Sky Venture and is reportedly the largest single civilian purchaser of tunneltime in the world. TunnelCamp.com plans to offer training camps at Sky Venture Arizona and Sky Venture California in the latter part of 2002.