23 February 2022
Written by: Brad Barnes, writing for the Peterborough Telegraph
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
No, it’s my seven-year old daughter soaring like one on a family trip to the wonderful iFLY in Milton Keynes.
And it wasn’t just Sasha with airborne ability, her sister Jas mine (aged eight) was a natural too, all smiles from start to finish of what is quite an adrenalin rush experience.Even being overweight and suffering middle aged aches and pains didn’t stop me from having a go, although I would be the first to admit my attempts were perhaps a little less graceful. And wife Donna got in on the act, just to show me how it was done.
Tall, small, young, old, there doesn’t appear to be any barrier to giving indoor skydiving a go -just step through the door into an invisible forcefield and away you go....You are actually stepping into a 12ft diameter vertical wind tunnel where wind speeds can reach 165 mph. It’s a bit like going out into a force 10 gale only it is blowing upwards.
Our actual experience began a few days earlier, when we watched the instructional video how to spread your arms and your legs and learned the hand signals the instructor in the tunnel with you would use.With high winds, ear plugs and a helmet, believe me, you won’t hear anything that it is said.So it’s bend your legs, straighten your legs, lift your chin and, most importantly, relax.
Arriving early to spend a little time in the viewing area helped too, giving us a taste of what we were letting ourselves in for. Then with half-a-dozen other brave souls we got our flying suit, helmet, goggles and earplugs and after some last minute instructions and reassurances from instructor Will, off we went.
I had imagined the four of us would be doing it as a family, alone, but it was actually quite nice sharing the experience with others who had clearly never tried it before either. There was a sense of camaraderie, everyone wanting each other to enjoy it. And we did. Feeling the forcefield you are trying to lean into to get airborne and the sensation when you get, kind of, horizontal (with a lot of help from Will in my case) is like nothing else. And the hand signals really did come into play.
Before I knew it, I was sort of flying and feeling quite proud of myself as I took my seat after a minute or so of being mid-air. Then I watched Sasha and Jasmine, yes and their mum, have equally as much fun and defy gravity with much more style and finesse. It was amazing to see.
Still coming to terms with what we had just done, it was time for us all to have a second go. This time, a new hand signal as I entered with Will pointing to the top of the tunnel and me giving a nod in reply. Then, after a more relaxed start, I was in position. Will grabbed a good hold and we started to spin. Just as the G-force kicked in whoosh.... we soared 40 feet to the top of the tunnel and down again quite majestically.
Then whoosh.... off we went to the top for a second time. It was an incredible sensation - exhilarating - and given that I have no plans to go jumping out of aeroplanes and free falling, one that will live with me for some time. As for the little ones, they hadn’t even had their second go when they were asking when we could come back and do it all again. They were even more confident and assured second time around, floating around with little assistance.
There was a real buzz of excitement in the air as we all made our way back down the stairs but the fun wasn’t over. The photos and videos of the experience were brilliant. The faces we pulled!
Original article published by the Peterborough Telegraph.