It’s a craze that appears to be taking over the entire nation, with centers popping up in Sydney, Perth and the Gold Coast. Indoor skydiving seems to tick all the boxes when it comes to family fun these summer holidays and if you have a daredevil child who is a little too young to jump out of a plane just yet – this is sure to give them a much-needed adrenaline fix.
We caught up with Cheryl Dawson, iFLY’s National Marketing Manage and a highly-skilled indoor skydiver to uncover the craze.
How did the idea to open Australia’s first state-of-the-art indoor skydive center come about and how did you get involved?
Indoor skydiving was originally developed to allow experienced skydivers to train, whatever the weather. These days indoor skydiving has soared in popularity around the world and become an adventure sport in its own right. Indoor Skydive Australia Group Limited (ISA Group) was established by Wayne Jones and Daniel Hogan to bring world-class indoor skydiving facilities to Australia, New Zealand and South East Asian regions. These facilities, allowing human flight within a safe environment, are currently used by tourists, skydiving enthusiasts and military throughout the world.
I’ve always loved sport and adrenaline activities, so as soon as I tried indoor skydiving for the first time I was hooked. In 2016 I was fortunate enough to join the iFLY team after moving back to Sydney from the South Coast. I now fly every week, attend monthly events such as Ladies Night (my favourite!), and this year I competed at the 2018 Australian Open Indoor Skydiving Championships – a national competition where flyers from all over the country and even the world come together to fly. I can’t imagine working anywhere else now; I love my job and my favourite part is seeing people overcome adversity and learning to fly on their own.
What’s the appeal of skydiving indoors?
The appeal of indoor skydiving is that it’s suitable for all ages and abilities, there’s no limitation on the what you can learn, you can do it by yourself or in a team, and there’s no need to worry about bad weather or lengthy plane rides as you would for outdoor skydiving. It’s both a kids activity and an activity for seniors and it’s fully accessible which is quite incredible given the physical nature of flying and the perception of skydiving being a somewhat extreme activity.
Our new virtual reality technology is taking indoor skydiving to another level again with skydiving visuals now accompanying the physical motion of flying – this is the first of its kind in Australia and we can’t wait for everyone to try it.
Who can participate in a VR Indoor Skydiving session/who would this make a perfect gift for?
VR is suitable for ages 8+ which is fantastic for kids who still have a few more years before being able to do an outdoor tandem skydive.
VR is the perfect gift for thrill seekers, those who aren’t able to skydive for either fear of heights, planes or health issues, and for anyone who has thought about how cool it would be to skydive on their own or even BASE jump – which is pretty much considered the ultimate in extreme sports that takes years of skydiving practice before being able to even consider attempting it.
At the moment we’re offering virtual reality flights over Hawaii and the Swiss Alps, as well as a wingsuit BASE jump, so there’s something for everyone.
How long does each session last and what training is involved before you hop into the wind tunnel?
Each indoor skydiving flight is 50 seconds long, which is the same as the freefall part of a skydive from 14,000ft. The VR flights are slightly longer, around 1 minute 10 seconds, allowing time to jump out of the plane, helicopter or off the cliff!
Flight sessions work on 30-minute rotations, so you and your fellow flyers rotate between flights giving you a break in between and the chance to watch your mates flying.
The training and gear up process to indoor skydive takes around 20 minutes. You will watch a brief video on how the wind tunnel works and how to enter and exit the tunnel; then you will practice your body position and learn the hand signals that the instructor will use to communicate with you in the wind – with the loud tunnel and all that air flying by, using voice commands isn’t an option! If you’re someone with low vision, the instructor will work with you on some physical prompts, such as a tap on the top of the foot to indicate that you need to straighten your legs.
What’s the most amazing adrenaline-filled experience you’ve ever had on holiday?
I love rides and I love flying! I love going to theme parks and trying everything they have, and if there’s an indoor skydiving centre where I’m holidaying then you will absolutely find me there flying. I’ve also done a helicopter ride over an erupting volcano in Hawaii, that was pretty incredible.
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