What better gift for your family members than a chance to experience the feeling you get from jumping out of a plane, but in a safe and controlled environment that’s suitable for all ages and abilities! In this issue I’m going to talk about the impact wind tunnels are having on non-skydivers and newcomers to our awesome sport.
As a skydiver, we don’t have to look very far to see the impact Indoor Skydiving is having on new skydivers. We are witnessing some amazing talent - jumpers with only 100 jumps joining vertical bigways, carving and tracing like they had a lifetime of skydives. All of these talented flyers have definitely benefited from Indoor Skydiving facilities opening up all over the world.
In the UK in 2003, before Indoor skydiving facilities existed in the country, there were 47 4-way teams entering the British Nationals. 10 years and 4 wind tunnels later, saw 71 teams entering. 20 of those teams were Rookies, which thanks to the tunnels, meant skydivers with very low jump numbers could enter a national competition. 21 teams were in the AAA (open) with 7 of those teams getting more than a 15 point average.
The Junior Indoor Skydiving Evolution
So what about those who can’t skydive? I think those videos of tiny kids zooming around the tunnel has made every skydiver a tad jealous! I have enviously watched with awe the Singapore Firefly girls taking on the adults at the Indoor Skydiving World Championships and 9 year old Kaleigh’s journey into Dynamic with her Dad from Maktoum in Dubai. But it’s not just skydiving families that encourage their youngsters to fly. Through the Kids Club in Singapore I’ve seen some shy students completely transform into confident individuals who move with grace and discipline in the air. These kids may or may not strap a parachute to their back when they turn 16, but either way we should start to encourage and harness this amazing upcoming talent as it will drive indoor and outdoor flying to a whole new level.
At AirRider we will be running Indoor Skydiving school education programmes, where kids not only get to experience the thrill of indoor skydiving, but get to learn about the science and technology behind our sport. I sure wish my physics teacher had taught me about surface area, velocity and resistance with a trip to a wind tunnel! It’s pretty cool to see water float mid-air and watch the instructors chase around different sizes objects, and hopefully it gives kids the motivation to engage with both science and our sport.
Now everyone can FLY!
Something that has always put a smile on my face is the fact that now truly EVERYONE CAN FLY! I’ve seen people with a huge variety of physical and mental disabilities take flight. It’s great to see them enjoying the freedom of flight like every other student. One story that really sticks in my mind, is the story of a young lad in the UK. He had various learning disabilities and struggled to focus clearly. His uncle, bought him a first time flyer experience one year and he loved it! His mother bought him back again and again, eventually stopping his physio sessions, instead spending the money on tunnel time. She said he seemed to leave all his problems at the door and nothing stood in his way once he was in the wind. He’s now completed his AFF and is already zooming around the blue skies head down!
This leads me nicely to people who never believed they would want to jump out of a plane. Indoor skydiving is a sport in its own right. There are amazing flyers and instructors out there who have never jumped out of a plane. However, in my experience, curiosity along with a new found confidence usually inspires flyers to take the leap and sign up for a skydive, whether a tandem or an AFF course. One example is IBA Trainer Tim Edwards who started his indoor skydiving journey as a non-skydiving instructor. He won a bronze medal in the Dynamic category at the Bodyflight World Challenge, and he had a grand total of zero skydives! He has since completed his AFF course but not before he took the indoor skydiving world by storm!
Learning to FLY
For newbies to the sport, indoor skydiving means students are literally going to fly through their AFF and B-rels. The tunnel truly is an amazing learning tool at all stages of progression. AFF students will not be back-sliding or making involuntary turns, B-rel students will be controlling their levels, flying in burbles and taking docks all with as little as 30 minutes tunnel time. Students learning to freefly or improve their formation skydiving skills can benefit from a coach, instantly correcting their mistakes. Teams can refine their moves and fly tighter and faster, they can review their footage after each flight and fit so much more into one day; one hour of flight is approximately 60 skydives or more! Plus, you only pay for the wind and not the number of flyers, so in a 4-way team, each flyer just pays a quarter of the total.
We only need to look at the competition scene to see how wind tunnels have influenced the incredible skill and accessibility. Singapore were able to send an 8-way team to the Dubai Mondial in 2012 despite there being no sports jumping in their country and some team members having less than 100 jumps. Even looking at the Mondial competition itself is testament to the evolution in our sport. High class hotels, incredible promotion, ice sculptures at breakfast and even Katy Perry performing to the crowds of competitors!
Introduce a Mate
For all your friends who you’ve tried to convince to skydive and have copped out last minute, here’s your chance! Now you can safely introduce them to our sport through AirRider Indoor Skydiving. It’s a doorway for everyone to experience flying, and you never know, they may take it to the skies. To help, you can now buy Into Flight gift vouchers on our website. A pretty awesome way to share our love of flying. Blue skies!