Sandy_first_time_flyer v2

Always wanted to FLY? You’ve just gotta try the tunnel!

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By Sandy Brooks


As a little girl, I was one of those kids who would climb stuff and jump off things. The big old-gum tree in the back yard was ideally suited to this purpose but so too was the Hills Hoist. Built on a sloping block it was quite amazing how much air time one could get if by jumping off a spinning washing line at just the right moment. I just wanted to be able to fly.

Of course, I’m all grown up now (and they just don’t make the washing lines quite as strong).

Don’t however, for one second think that has stopped me from being just a bigger kid. Thing is, now I can in fact FLY and enjoy it so much I do so on a weekly basis. Now now. I haven’t been at the bottle.  I’m talking iFLY Downunder. An Indoor skydiving wind tunnel next to Penrith Panthers.

It all started about a year ago. Hubby wasn’t especially interested in trying but I was keen. That’s OK, I can try it on a day that I’m not working. Easy enough to Google iFLY and get the phone number. I just asked for the earliest booking on the day of my choice and I got exactly that. As luck had it, early morning on a week day shortly after the place had only been opened a short time I was made to feel like a VIP. That said though, all the staff there always treat you like that.

Once I had checked in I got a bit of a chance to sit and watch some of the vids on the various big screens with all the wide-eyed wonder of that cheeky tree climbing kid a long time back. My Instructor soon searched me out, introduced himself and took me to the briefing room to see a short video. This explained a few simple hand signals that might be used to make my flight more effortless. The flight Instructor ran through them again just to check that I had the gist of it and then it was time to suit-up.

I do have to say that, at this point, I felt like a bit of a goose donning a voluminous orange onesie (this by the way, goes over the top of whatever you are wearing, so to all the ladies out there, don’t wear your pencil skirt and you’ll be fine I’m sure. It also comes in blue if you like to colour co-ordinate with your shoes).

Anyway, as was pointed out, all the other flyers were similarly attired. Since I was the VIP on this particular occasion though, all the other flyers were either staff or Instructors, all of whom were young, fit, slender and stupidly good looking. Not to put too fine a point on it or even to be self-deprecating, but in all fairness; I was not, not, not and not. The only relevant fact however was:

I was going to FLY.

And FLY I did.

I felt like that kid again. So excited with a huge smile that could not be contained.

The incredible sound as the tunnel started up.

The smell of the air in the tunnel.

The feel of it on my face.

The comfort of knowing that those in control (both the Flight Instructor and tunnel driver) had it all in hand as a seamless team specifically trained for that purpose .

Once I was directed to straighten my legs a bit and look up (with the previously discussed hand signals) I was just having too much fun. Luckily, I was able to suppress all those ridiculous questions that our brains throw our way when trying something new and different.

You know the sort:

What if I go up too high and can’t get down again?

Can I breathe if I need to?

What if the power goes off just when I’m in the tunnel?

What if my parachute fails to open? (Derrr)

What if my bum falls off?

Just chill people and ENJOY.

Put your trust in the people who know what they are doing and just do as they say. Believe me, it’s not rocket surgery. These people have been through some seriously gruelling processes, just so they could look after YOU.

If you can just relax and trust them, your reward will be:

Well, my vocabulary can’t cover it. You just have to try it and see.

I challenge anyone and everyone to do so and let me know.


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On October 8, 2015
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