After I completed my charity sky-dive for the hospice, my then 4 year old daughter proclaimed that she wanted to do a sky-dive too. Clearly she is far too young, but it did get me thinking, and I was thrilled to have inspired her to believe she could take on exciting challenges. I decided that it would be fun and rewarding to get my children involved with my bucket list, and hopefully inspire them to think more about the things that they want to do and achieve in life… Whether it be academic success, a fulfilling career, travelling, or simply fun!
I didn’t want to squash her ambition, and my eldest son had recently discovered videos of people Indoor Sky-Diving on YouTube, so I looked into how old she would need to be to do one. As it transpired, 4 was the minimum age-get in! Since we had gone to Thailand for Christmas, it also made sense to purchase a gift for her that would travel easily, and a Go-Vouchers gift box is tiny, so her main present from us was an indoor-sky-diving voucher, and when she opened it, we showed her a video of another child who was doing it. She was over the moon, and proceeded to tell her friends that she was going to fly like a bird!
In fact, the whole family got tickets for Christmas from me to go Indoor Sky-Diving at Airkix in Milton Keynes. I managed to get a discount through Go Vouchers who were running a 3 for 2 offer, as they often do. The cost was £49 for a 2 minute flight. When you think about how much time you actually get in free fall on a real sky-dive, you appreciate that this is actually much longer than it sounds. The price also includes your briefing and a DVD of the experience. Your time is broken up into two separate minutes, so that you can watch your first minute on the TV screen, and learn from watching your successes and failures.
This is my favourite picture of me from my flight:
Bodyflight or bodyflying is a generic term for indoor skydiving usually associated with the use of a vertical wind tunnel. Indoor skydivers use a wind tunnel to practice and improve their freefall, bodyflight, bodyflying, flying and skydiving skills and they will often practice in a wind tunnel before taking the new skills to the sky.
My daughter was pretty fearless at first, but her legs waved around all over the place pretty uncontrollably at times on her first minute, so the instructor didn’t let go of her at all On her second time, he managed to let go of her for long enough to get this AMAZING picture of her actually flying unaided in the wind-tunnel! My nine year old son was very scared at first, and even shed a couple of tears, but he bravely faced his fears, and by the time his extra minute came around, he even allowed the instructor to take him to the top of the wind tunnel on the high fly. My eldest son, at 13 flapped around gangly all over the place, with very little stability, and we didn’t manage to get any good photos unfortunately.
I had thought that my partner would pick it up immediately with his natural ability to succeed at all things flying related, but surprisingly, I was better than him! Within 4 minutes, I had mastered the ability to control my height and turn around in the wind tunnel by altering my posture in the air flow.
If you’re intrigued to understand how this works, They crank the wind speed up in the tunnel according to your weight… If you straighten your back, and lie flat like a plank, then you become less aerodynamic and catch more air which means you gain height in the wind tunnel, if you arch your back and raise your arms and legs, you become more aerodynamic and you lose height in the wind tunnel. Small movements where you tilt or raise one arm
This is definitely an experience I plan to repeat, as I enjoyed learning and progressing and the feeling of flying. I would like to go to the Manchester Airkix, as their tunnel is slightly larger, but this one was great too. I can’t recommend this experience enough, especially if you want to sky-dive, but are frightened of doing the real thing!