by Deb Carr
Photo of Deb: Supplied by iFLYdownunder
When I was first approached to experience iFLYdownunder I could actually feel the butterflies in my stomach. The thought of skydiving has been a big fear for me all my life and I’ve been in awe of those who actually do it. I secretly wished I was brave enough to skydive, but hey, you are reading the writings of a woman who finds a roller coaster the scariest beast on the planet! Even though I knew this was to be an inside experience with maximum safety, I just wasn’t sure….there come those butterflies again…and again.
“Get over yourself” I told myself realizing this was an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and try something I would normally never think about doing. So I said yes! Yes, I’ll come out and try the experience with the other bloggers. The more I thought about it, the more I started to get excited rather than scared.
The day arrived. I started to feel quite excited actually, I was intrigued as to what was going to happen. We were picked up by Christian, who I later found out is a very accomplished skydiver, and jumped over 500 times last year! We hopped into the iFLYdownunder bus and took the trip from Sydney CBD to Penrith. I wasn’t nervous, if anything, rather impatient to check it all out.
When we arrived I noticed how tall the dome was! Hmmm.. “Not so cocky now are you Deb?” I thought to myself.
When we went Inside we were greeted by the team and signed a waiver via electronic screens. Some of the instructors were in the tunnel doing all sorts of crazy things - which you can see in the video I captured on my iPhone above.
During our tour I was surprised to learn that the facility is also a training camp for the military to help skill up the skydivers.
After our tour and presentation it was time to meet our instructor, Tim, who is a world champion at tunnel jumping. Tim gave us instructions on safety and techniques before we were fitted up in our gear. He is actually quite a character and I felt very safe knowing he was our instructor. Once our group were geared up we proceeded to the tunnel.
Note here we had jump suits, sand shoes, earplugs and goggles. Let me point out right now, it’s very noisy inside the dome.
Before we had our own individual sessions we went in as a group to experience what it felt like inside the wind tunnel. I have to point out here I was shocked. I think, maybe in my head, I was visualising a nice breeze, you know the type when you are sitting outside on a summer night with a chardonnay? That nice thought soon turned into being inside what I imagine, might be a mini tornado and I actually struggled to breathe.
Note, when you try this yourself if you have a blocked nose like I normally do, it does feel like you can’t breathe and I personally found that quite distressing. I can assure you, nothing to worry about, I'm still alive! My tip is to not think about breathing, rather think about relaxing....that is the #1 tip of this post....totally relax and trust! My personal tip would be to take some nasal decongestant prior to the flight (check with doctor of course as I’m not qualified to give medical advice).
We all left the tunnel and somehow, "Yours Truly" was first in line to fly from the group of us novices, not sure how that happened, it just did. Now it was my turn! As instructed, I entered the tunnel and before I knew it Tim had me hovering on thin air! It was exhilarating. Truly something I wish everyone could experience. I never felt like I was going to crash or fall, I wasn’t scared because I knew I was in expert hands. After about 2 minutes my turn was up and I exited the dome as instructed and I must admit, the claps from my peers and the fact that I had just had the wonderful experience left me on a high.
We were told that there would be two flights each. So once out of the dome you go and sit at the end of the queue and each person moves up one at a time after each member has a turn.
I watched my blogger friends all have their turn and it was hilarious to watch their faces of smiles and sometimes worry. Mostly though we were all giving the thumbs up for encouragement.
Then my second turn came. Now I was pretty confident and had no worries about the breathing or being scared. Tim let me do more on my own this time and I bounced myself off the wall a couple of times. All was good and then, Tim grabbed me and started to spin me around fast. In these few seconds I remember thinking that he was going to spin me really fast, and I wasn’t worried until all of a sudden I was up the top of the 13 metre high wind tunnel. HE NEVER TOLD US WE WERE GOING TO DO THAT!!!!!! Whoosh up! Whoosh down! It seemed to take a split second yet at the same time to take forever. When we came down I prayed we were not going up again. Too bad! Here we are again at the top and now we are floating down. We land, and before I know it I’m out the door. I’m speechless! Did I really just do that? What the BLEEP was that!!!!! The worried look on my colleague’s faces was hysterical because they now knew what they were in for! I felt marvellous! - you can watch what happened in this short video.
Video supplied by: iFLYdownunder (you can purchase video & photos of your flight)
Note this flight we had is called the iFLY High - $119.00 – this includes the whizz up to the top of the wind tunnel.
When when finished everyone was exhilarated. This is a great experience for all ages. I believe the oldest person who has tried inside skydiving is in their 80’s! I’ve now done something way out of my comfort zone and I have a certificate to prove it! iFlydownunder is a great way to entertain the kids especially as a birthday party, also available for corporate events and for anyone who wants to have the experience of skydiving without actually the long distance and jumping out of a plane. I’m considering taking it up as a hobby! Prices from $89.00
After our flight, we were treated to lunch from “Up Raw” which is the creation of Nellie Barnett and that’s another story I will be writing about in a separate post soon. As you can see from my photos the food is delicious. All organic, gluten free, no sugar its super healthy and delicious! I wish Up Raw were in the CBD because I’d be there every day!
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Food Photos taken with Nikon Coolpix p340 – www.mynikonlife.com.au
I loved the experience of IFLYdownunder and would encourage you to have a go too.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of iFLYdownunder and Up Raw, I report on my honest experiences.