Groove Hawaii’s Wind Tunnel vs. Nuuanu Pali Lookout

Two blow-out experiences examined side by side.


Published:

  

Photos: David Thompson, David Croxford

 

LOCATION

Wind Tunnel

The Groove Hawaii in Kakaako, a “go-kart racing and family entertainment park,” at 805 Ala Moana Blvd., opened in May.

Pali Lookout

Nuuanu Pali State Wayside, 1,200 feet above Kailua and Kaneohe, off the Pali Highway.
 

HOW IT WORKS

Wind Tunnel

160-horsepower diesel engine spins a huge carbon-fiber fan positioned beneath a tube, 10 feet wide by 12 feet tall.

Pali Lookout

Trade winds funnel between two 3,000-foot peaks in the Koolau mountains, gaining speed as they go.
 

WIND SPEED 

Wind Tunnel

Up to 140 miles per hour.

Pali Lookout

Variable. On a good day, winds can be twice as strong as winds at lower elevations. Occasionally, gusts top 74 miles per hour—hurricane force.
 

DO FEET LEAVE THE GROUND? 

Wind Tunnel 

Yes, that’s the whole idea. The wind tunnel is designed to simulate skydiving.

Pali Lookout

Hopefully not. If the gusts blow you off your feet, you’re probably in for a hard landing.
 

SAFETY BRIEFING AND TRAINING SESSION

Wind Tunnel 

Yes. It takes about 15 minutes.

Pali Lookout

No. Just use common sense and you’ll be fine.
 

ATTIRE

Wind Tunnel 

Flight suits, helmets and goggles are provided.

Pali Lookout

Anything goes. But short skirts are not recommended.
 

WAIVERS, WARNINGS, AND LEGAL DISCLAIMERS

Wind Tunnel

Participants must sign document releasing Fly Zone Bodyflight Inc., the Canada-based operator of the wind tunnel, from all liability.

Pali Lookout

Do not leave valuables in car unattended.
 

COST

Wind Tunnel

$66.50 for two minutes of air time. It seems longer. 

Pali Lookout

Non-residents pay $3 to park; residents park free. Stay as long as you like.
 

AMENITIES

Wind Tunnel

“Go-kart” track, climbing wall, billiards, arcade, pizza, portable toilets.

Pali Lookout

Panoramic views, wind-sculpted trees, reproduction of painting by Herb Kane showing Kamehameha’s warriors forcing Oahu’s defenders off the edge of the cliff, portable toilets.


 

Read More Stories by David Thompson

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