Location: Milton Keynes
Price: from £30 pp
If you’ve read my Go Ape and O2 Climb posts, you’ll know that I’m not exactly adept at heights or physical activity, but I give it a bloody good try nonetheless. Last Christmas, I bought my friend Countryfile 2 tickets to iFly in Milton Keynes, which boasts an indoor skydiving experience very close to the feeling of actual skydiving.
Upon arrival, you will sign your life away through a waiver form and you will be assigned to a flying group with an instructor. Our instructor started off our training with a briefing video, where we learnt the body shaping techniques and hand signals we would later need in the flight chamber.
Once we were dressed for action (suit, helmet, goggles and ear plugs) we made our way up to the flight chamber. I would suggest leaving all valuables safely in your car (if possible). While lockers are provided, loose jewellery and mobile phones are likely to be blown away if you take them into the chamber with you! They do film you and take photos while you’re in there but, of course, these memories will come at a price (£5 per picture, to be specific).
From here, it was just a case of diving into the chamber and hoping the wind would catch you. The instructor stays in the chamber the entire time and helps you to perfect your technique (or in my case, helps you to stop bashing into the walls and flipping over).
Each flight lasts for 2 minutes, which doesn’t sound like very long, but it is apparently longer than the time you would be free-falling if you jumped out of a plane. We took two flights each, which was probably enough given the semi-discomfort you feel when you’re in the chamber. It’s not painful by any means (although my chest and arms did ache the next day), but the force of the air blasting in your face does make it difficult to breathe.
If you’re good at the flying, for an extra £6 the instructor can offer you a high fly experience. This is where you are spun around and shot up and down the chamber with the instructor. I was the only one in the group who was not able to do this (because I was so bad that it was unsafe… LOL) but it’s more likely that you would be able to do this if you wanted to, as long as you aren’t completely talent-less like me. Seriously, a 6 year old did it.
When you’re not flying, you get to watch and cheer for everyone else! So the question is, would I recommend the iFly experience? In a word, yes. It makes a great birthday or Christmas present for a friend or family member and it’s a more unusual way to spend a couple of hours.
However, in terms of the thrill, the experience is shortlived and it probably won’t give you the high (excuse the pun) you’re expecting. There is no jolt in the stomach or fear once you are actually in there, unlike the feeling you get when you’re zip lining (for example). I guess this all depends on how good you are but if you plan on going skydiving one day, this would be a great taster lesson.
Thanks for reading,