So, there we all are – Tim, Jo, Brandon and myself – staring inside a massive vertical wind tunnel watching two guys launch themselves into gravity-defying positions in wind speeds of over 100 miles an hour. They swoop, they dive, they flip, they spin. They look incredible. Are we really going in there?!
As team-building days go, indoor skydiving courtesy of Airkix in Basingstoke was probably the most unusual and exhilarating any of us have experienced. Tim had arranged it as a surprise and what a great one it was! Heart thumping, palms sweating (well, mine were!) we were duly led into the briefing room where our instructor proceeded to guide us through the safety procedures.
It seemed simple enough: we would have two, two-minute flights where we would attempt to get ourselves into the optimal flying position of chin up, arms forward and open, legs apart. The better we could do this, our instructor told us, the better our flying experience will be.
Luckily for me, no-one mentions any of the dare-devil stuff we’ve just seen. Presumably that really is just for the pros! I start to breath a little easier…
We then were led off to get suited-up in action-hero blue and red jumpsuits, complete with goggles, ear-plugs and a helmet. I’m not sure who looked the most entertaining at this point but there wasn’t much time to dwell on it as we were then led to the windtunnel to wait our turn.
Once the pro’s had done another spin of high-flying tricks to keep us entertained, it was our turn to go! One by one we leant into the wind tunnel entrance and then WHOOSH! The wind literally takes your feet away and you start ‘flying’.
The minute you step into the windtunnel the reality of what 100 MPH wind speed feels like is incredible. You can’t hear a thing so you have to rely on hand-signals from the instructor to try and maintain the optimal flying position. Just when you think you’ve cracked it, you find yourself swooping towards the glass side or spiraling upwards and you realise your position is actually far from optimal! Luckily the instructor was right there to help. I wonder how many frantic hand signals he’s made over the years to us mere mortals swirling around him?
Before you know it, the minute is up and you’re guided out of the tunnel and return to gravity. It’s hard to imagine what you looked like or well you did but there’s a video running on loop and we get to critique our performance whilst we wait for our second flight. The only down-side is not being able to chat to each other as we wait alongside the wind tunnel, with earplugs and helmets still in place. But as you’d expect from a team of visual communication experts, we sit back and enjoy watching each other instead!
Indoor skydiving is the chance to literally go with the (very strong!) flow and enjoy it for what it is – a chance to do something different and the chance to push you out of your comfort zone. It’s also LOTS of fun. Watching each other flying is something you don’t see everyday, that’s for sure. Watching each other don super-hero type outfits is also something you don’t see everyday, either!
We’re proud to confirm we have now ‘mastered the skills of bodyflight’ and each have a certificate to prove it. Not quite pro level yet, but watch this space!
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