When Gemma and I found out that we would be travelling to iFLY to try Indoor Skydiving, we instantly knew this would be an experience we couldn’t wait to take part in - and there may have been a few squeals of excitement!
When the 6th March finally came around, Gemma and I hit the motorway to head towards iFLY Basingstoke. iFLY also have locations in Milton Keynes and Manchester.
Basingstoke is the latest iFLY location in the UK, so we were excited to see what was offered here. We were not disappointed. On offer is a freedom climber wall, a VR Paraflight, an artificial ski slope, and of course the wind tunnel, ready for indoor skydiving. The complex is perfect for all ages and abilities to let loose and try something new. The Premier Inn next door and nearby restaurants make it an easy day out or weekend activity.
Once we had entered the building, the friendly reception staff were happy to help sign us in and tell us where to go for our indoor skydiving session. As we walked up the flight of stairs, we were welcomed by a huge wind tunnel standing proudly in the centre of the room. An indoor skydive was occurring at that exact time. We sat down on the comfortable seating arrangements, and watched in amazement (and anticipation) as the participant flew around the tunnel, with an instructor on hand at all times. Now we really couldn’t wait for our experience to begin!
Liam was our instructor for the day. He came into the room and asked for our group. After a friendly introduction, we were led into a small briefing room. Here we watched a short video on health and safety, as well as learning the main pointers in order to fly correctly and comfortably. iFLY instructors use hand signals once you’re in the tunnel itself. These include Chin Up, Legs Straight, Legs Bent, and Relax – as shown in the image. When the instructor gives you a hand signal, they are showing you what you need to do to improve your fly.
It had come time to change into our iFLY suits, put on our goggles, and pop in our earplugs. There are a range of suits for all sizes, as well as goggles suitable for glasses, and a mixture of adult and child-sized earplugs… which worked great for me as my ears are tiny! Liam then handed us our helmets and took us to the staging area, where the groups wait for their turn in the tunnel. We were ready to begin!
Gemma was first up. Liam entered the tunnel, and guided her into her first flight. The 120mph winds instantly lifted her high into the tunnel. Her gracefulness really showed through as she flew about, hands and toes pointed. As for me… I was a little less graceful, and hovered in the air as Liam instructed me to straighten my legs. As I did, up I went! Our grins in the photo below just go to show how we were feeling at the time. Each flight is roughly a minute long, and your Experience Days voucher entitles you to two flights - that’s as much as 3 actual skydives!
The free fall motion is an incredible feeling. Your first flight is used to acclimatise you to the sensation, and allows you to practice the basic flying techniques shown in the briefing room. By our second flight, we were able to fly more evenly, and were excited to have the chance to ‘High Fly’. You will have the option to upgrade to this during your second flight for an additional £7. This is where the instructor will spin you around, until you’re suddenly soaring to the top of the wind tunnel and back down again. A great thrill, and one I would definitely recommend!
When our flight had ended, we headed back into the changing room to take off our iFLY gear. Liam handed us our well-deserved Level 1 Flyer certificates, which we couldn’t wait to show the office! Just when we thought our day had ended, the iFLY team surprised us with a VR Paraflight. This new technology allows customers to use virtual reality to simulate paragliding, as you fly about using real-life paragliding controls to direct yourself through the virtual world. You collect points by flying through hoops!
This was a great end to a brilliant day. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Tracy, Liam and the iFLY team for organising our day at the complex!