How the dream of flight helped transform my life

28 April 2017

Written by: Russel Newland: Happy to fly!

A couple of years ago I was a fun, but very rounded character, with a long hair beard, who wore joggers held up with a large belt, and a bandanna. I tipped the scales at 24 stone 3lbs and had a 44 inch waist. Indoor skydiving helped transform my life.

One day, I came across indoor skydiving and thought it looked a cool thing to do so I strolled up to book a flight. To my horror I was advised that I would not be able to fly because of my weight. I was deflated but not deterred and resolved to get on a diet. At first I just cut out all the nice things and lost a stone. Encouraged by this early progress, my GP gave me a 12 week free introduction to slimmers world. It provided a further boost to my motivation and I and I lost a further two stone.

The local newspaper heard about my ongoing quest to lose weight and ran a small feature. Then, out of the blue, I got a call from a guy asking me if I might want to a feature in a program about people who had committed to make dramatic changes to their lifestyle. I must confess, I quite liked the idea of appearing on TV!

The show was called This Time Next Year, hosted by Davina Mccall. Following the programme, I went on weight loss plan called the lighter life, a simple plan consisting of food packs with a balanced nutritional combo of vitamins and minerals. Enough to enable you body to lose weight and keep you sustained, while you go about daily life.

So a year goes by and the TV programme gets aired at Christmas. By this time I've had a major transformation, not only in my overall appearance, but significantly in my weight. When I appeared in front of Davina for the second time she was completely stunned. I had shed a massive 10 stone in a year. To help me celebrate, my partner bought me a voucher for an iFLY flight. I was so excited I couldn't wait and booked a date in February. Then disaster! The day before my flight I got severe stomach pains. They were so bad, I had to go to hospital, fearing it might be my appendix and that my dream of flight may be dashed again.

Thankfully it was not as serious as thought and I was able to fix a new date to fly in March.

The day arived and I'm there: right weight and shape. Following the classroom tutorial, I slip easily into my flight suit and Greg, the instructor lead us up to the tunnel. It's my turn and as I fall into the wind I feel like an extra lite balloon in Greg's control. He gives me a few adjustment signals and suddenly I'm flying on my own. Wow! On the second flight the power gets turned up and in the next instant we're both spinning up and down the tunnel - it's simply sensational!

I didn't hesitate to book the return four flight package and can't wait to get flying again.

A huge thank you to iFLY for being part of my journey from a 24 stone 3 lbs ageing pirate to a 14 stone, young-at-heart adventure seeker. I would like to try a tandem parachute jump at some point and to drive a rally car. during what I hope will be many adrenaline fueled years ahead.

It's time to make up for lost time. And if I can do it, anyone can.