Andy's journey to 5,000 jumps

By: Nick Wake: Marketing Director - iFLY UK

Andy Godwin (front, second from right) in BosniaAndy Godwin, General Manager at iFLY Milton Keynes, recently celebrated a milestone in skydiving when he completed his 5,000th skydive. We thought we should find out a little bit more about what took Andy on this amazing journey. Here's what he had to say.

How did you get into skydiving in the first place? Where and when did you make your first jump?

I first got into skydiving 26 years ago by mistake. I went to watch my then girlfriend do a static line jump for her work at Badminton Parachute Centre, a tiny dropzone near Bristol with rather dubious, old fashioned looking equipment. Quite a few people decided that they did not want to do the jump so they asked if any partners would like to take up the option. I jumped at the chance (sorry had to put that in)

Can you put into words what it feels like when you are skydiving?

To start off with, it was my biggest fear, I am scared of heights, the first time I jumped I was sick and had a migraine from all the excitement. Over the years and thousands of jumps later, those fears have gone. I just love flying and feeling free now.

What has been your best skydiving moment?

I think it has to be when I attended the 2013 World Championships in Bosnia. To be part of the British contingent was amazing.Every country got together and we all paraded around the local town and were treated like celebrities. One woman even gave me her baby to walk round with! We came third in the world and second in Europe. Hearing the National Anthem being played and then receiving my medal was wonderful and made me feel very patriotic.

Over the years there have been many great things that I have been lucky enough to be part of. One of those has been BLESMA where each year we arrange FALL FOR THE FALLEN, a charity tandem skydive for injured servicemen on an epic scale with hundreds of people jumping on one day to raise money.

More recently I had great fun helping Martin Rees set a world record for the most amount of magic tricks performed during a skydive. 

Has there been any person or person(s) who have had a big influence on your skydiving career?

Working at Airkix, now iFLY, has had a huge influence. I was an ordinary skydiver before I started here, but suddenly found myself in the unique position of being able to practise frequently and efficiently with rapid results.  This gave me the stimulus and the ability to get into competition skydiving in a big way. 

Have you ever had a moment of fear when skydiving? What is your view on the health and safety that surrounds the sport?

Unfortunately I have had a few malfunctions.  The worst was relatively early on, when I got involved in a wrap. This is when two people collide and their canopies wrap around each other. We managed to separate - this was before automatic activation devices to deploy your reserve became mandatory - but my canopy was still tangled.  I hit the ground pretty hard and ended up being airlifted to hospital. It was around 8 months before I was back jumping.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a jump for the first time?

Do it. The training and safety for skydiving is one of the best for any sport and the experience is like nothing else in the world. When the door opens at 15,000ft and you look down, it’s amazing.

But if you don't fancy that, just come to iFLY!

How did you feel when your received your award to commemorate 5,000 jumps?

I was really chuffed. The best part was that most of my friends were there to support me and cheer me on. Skydiving is not just about jumping out of plane. It’s about the people we meet and the bonds we build. I think that first jump has helped define who I am and how I live my life. I live ever day like it’s the last and go at it full speed. We get one chance. One go to do the best we can.