My journey to tunnel instructor

28 November 2016

Written by: Aimee Southwell: Instructor, iFLY Milton Keynes

My name is Aimee and I have been skydiving and working in the industry since 2010. Prior to working as a tunnel instructor, I worked full time at a numerous drop zones as a camera and tandem instructor. I thoroughly enjoyed this, but wanted to improve my personal flying, so I applied for a position as a tunnel instructor at iFLY Milton Keynes, formerly known as Airkix Indoor Skydiving.

When I was accepted for the position I was ecstatic yet knew that there was still the challenging Flight Instructor Training Progamme (FITP) to pass first! The course is designed to make you aware of all situations that may occur during your classes. This includes not only the art form of being a coach, but the vitally important education on how to prevent injuries from occurring.

The course was incredibly demanding on your body as it involves catching students who fall or roll over; essentially being a human cushion to avoid people obtaining bumps and bruises. For myself, I was at the gym nonstop for a month with a Personal Trainer to get myself ready. Even then some training days were exhausting. Throughout the 4 weeks we became incredibly fit through endless drills and nonstop running around the tunnel in circles. I’m not joking!

But this helps to explain why, when you finally pass, it’s one of the most incredible feelings you will ever know. You are so proud of yourself! I have been a full-time tunnel instructor now for just under a year and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Meeting so many amazing new people, experiencing new environments and enjoying incredible progression in my own personal flying and skydiving.

I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoy teaching people in this industry. Each new flyer is another addition to the skydiving family. I am hoping that over the next couple of years I will improve my coaching and flying ability to a level where I can become a freelance coach, both in the tunnel and in the sky. If all goes well, I may even get to enjoy the added bonus of travelling the world!