Virgin Experience Days Indoor Skydiving review
Indoor Skydiving with Airkix from Virgin Experience Days
Whoosh what an exhilarating experience! That would be my overall summary of the exciting experience my son and I took part in at Airkix in Milton Keynes.
We went indoor skydiving with Virgin Experience Days. I hadn’t previously heard about this activity, but was very excited to find out more.
We got lots of information in advance with our tickets including advice about wearing comfortable casual clothing, lace up trainers and no jewellery. We also had to answer health questions and sign a statement of risk. The main concerns are for those who have had shoulder or back injuries, but we were all clear and good to go.
On arrival at the location we were struck by the size of the structure which houses the wind tunnel- it was very tall and industrial in appearance.
Once inside we were introduced to our instructor Glen and then watched a ten minute training video. This talked us through what would happen, explained how to enter and exit the tunnel, how to get the right body position and the hand signals that the instructor would use to communicate with us in the tunnel. I admit that as I watched the video my nerves began to rise and I wondered whether I would be able to do it, but I was determined to give it a try. Having watched a video loop of others flying in the tunnel whilst we’d been waiting I could see plenty of small children having a go so thought if they can do it surely I can.
After the video, we got our flying suits, goggles, helmets and ear plugs. We then preceded upstairs to the viewing gallery and observed the group before us having their sessions. At this point I still thought it looked difficult!
The Milton Keynes wind tunnel was the first of its kind in the UK. The flying chamber is twelve foot in diameter and the air flow can reach speeds of 165 miles per hour. The bit you can see where the initial flying takes places is like a glass pod, it has a mesh type floor with a long drop below where the mechanism (don’t look down!) is open to the huge concrete tunnel above, it has a display screen with a time counter and a control booth.
Soon it was our turn. Daniel went first and seemed to get fairly good very quickly, I was still anticipating the worst. I was next!
Despite having seen the video I was absolutely amazed to find that as soon as I entered the chamber the wind flow lifted my legs from under me and I was horizontal with ease. I tried to bend my arms and legs as I’d be shown and Glen adjusted them slightly and encouraged me to relax to get the best position. He hung onto me as he assisted but within seconds he had let go and I was flying in the updraft alone. I moved easily around the chamber and at different heights with Glen keeping a watchful eye and steering me if he thought I was off course. It just lasted a minute but was ample time to experience the full joy of the flying experience. Then Glen guided me to the exit door and I pulled myself out. Daniel and I were grinning at each other, totally thrilled by our achievements. We then enjoyed watching the others in our group progress. The beginners taking their first tentative flights as we had done and then a couple who were more experienced practicing flying on their backs and turning. Glen also treated us to some of his own acrobatic moves in between which had us all gasping.
We then had our second go. I wondered if the first time had been a bit of a fluke and I’d be terrible now but no I flew easily again, suspended in mid air with Glen remaining vigilant and really encouraging. The spectators were great too; you could see that they were enjoying watching. During our second flight we had the amazing opportunity to do a Hi Fly with Glen. For this the speed of the air circulation is increased you can really feel it ramp up. Glen holds on to you and takes you high into the tunnel spinning you round as you go. The maximum flying height is 37 feet and it certainly felt to me like we achieved that. You rise very quickly and seem to fall even faster, there’s no time to think before up you go again. This cost a little extra and can only be done with certain instructors who have the additional experience, but was really worth it to get that extra adrenalin buzz. I know I screamed and screamed and laughed all at the same time.
Back downstairs, Glen gave us an individual debrief talking about what we’d done well, and what we might work on if we came again. He advised me that I needed to just relax a little more and would be able to start to learn about how to move myself up and down. After returning our equipment we were given certificates showing what we had accomplished and had the chance to purchase photos and a video of our experiences before chattering all the way home about how amazing it had felt, how it wasn’t at all difficult as we’d anticipated and what fun it had been.
Our two minutes of flying each were the equivalent freefall time of us each doing three tandem 12,000 foot skydives and all within a safe and well managed indoor centre in Milton Keynes, mazing!
In addition to this wind tunnel (see right for outside photo), Airkix has sites in Basingstoke and Manchester. They offer a range of packages starting with our two minute Kix Start package through to family flights and coaching packages for those who want to increase their skills. Why not give it a try; you can be sure of a fantastic experience.
From just £49: virginexperiencedays.co.uk/indoor-skydiving
Many thanks to Susan “Brave” Brookes-Morris, from Positive Publicity www.positivepublicity.biz for both the review and fabulous photos!