In 2011 I did my first tandem jump in Interlaken. In 2012 I learnt to sky dive in Madrid. I continued to jump for most of 2012 to 2013 at Nettuno, Italy (just south of Rome), until I moved to the Bahamas in August 2013. Unfortunately I was unable to get back into jumping as there were no places to do it – hence why I spent most of my time scuba diving, not a bad way to pass the time.
However, last November (2019) I had the opportunity to go to iFly in Manchester. We were heading to my sister-in-law’s house, and as we had to pass, I treated the family to a few jumps in the wind tunnel.
I have to say we had so much fun. We arrived and went through a quick safety briefing. There were people of all ages in our group. We put on our helmets and queued up. Our booking was for 2 flights each, and we bought a couple of optional extras, of course the obligatory photos and videos, and an additional flight for me and L – with a flight to the top of the tunnel.
How did it compare to the real thing? It was similar but different. I love the instant feedback that you get; there is no time lost from jump to landing. Being able to review your jump and then get back in and improve is so good. I remember watching my AFF videos and progressing through my jumps, and the feedback there was fantastic. Removing the time to get to altitude and the time under canopy means that you can really work on your freefall form. I wish I had access to one of these when I was doing my AFF.
Was it worth it? Yes, it was so much fun and I would go back in a heart beat. It showed me how much skill I had lost, which was to be expected. Skydiving is one of those sports that you can’t take a long time off of and return to and expect to be at the top of your game. As I have now passed my 40th birthday and I live in a country where there isn’t consistent sunshine it doesn’t look like I will be returning to jumping anytime soon. Also Manchester is just far enough away that it makes it impossible to go there frequently, not that we could go at this moment. Maybe 2021 will bring some interesting adventures.