As a birthday present for my husband I decided to take the whole family (five of us) for indoor skydiving at iFly. Not knowing what to expect we arrived in Basingstoke a bit late and almost missed our ‘flight’.
Tip 1: You should get there one hour before your allocated time as the safety talk is thirty minutes long. Before the talk you have to fill in lots of electronic forms which you can do online prior to the day (which I recommend incase you’re late like us).
One of the forms is a ‘Statement Of Risk’ which is common for these kind of strenuous activities. It’s simply taking away liability from iFly incase anything terrible happens to you!
Luckily they allowed us in and we got to hear the lovely Anthony explain to us what we were about to go and do. There were twelve of us who were all booked in for two flights each. We had to leave our belongings including phones (lockers are provided) behind in a changing room bit.
Tip 2: Make sure your phone is accessible as straight after the flight there is a couple of mins to take group photos. Photos of the flight aren’t allowed as you can buy these later online.
We were taught a number of hand signals because once you’re in the flight chamber, you and the instructor won’t be able to hear each other. The fans are very loud!
Tip 3: Wear thin, comfortable clothing as you have to wear overalls on top. Watches and jewellery need to be removed.
Once the safety talk was over we put on our jumpsuits, helmets and ear plugs — yes it’s that loud!
Tip 4: If you have long hair, tie it up otherwise it will go everywhere but not too high as you have to wear a helmet. *Strategic hairstyle and hijab styling required*.
We then proceeded to the flying zone where we all sat on the bench as everyone took their first go one by one. Unfortunately I was first to go and leapt into the wind tunnel. The instructor is with you the whole time and you have to arch your body and pretty much keep still while a fan is churning out wind at about 80 mph. I found it difficult to breathe, although you can hold your breath as well.
Tip 5: Screaming helps if you’re struggling to catch your breath. It’s like sticking your head out of the car window whilst on the motorway but more intense.
If you’re flying correctly then the instructor will let go of you. The whole flight lasts one minute long. My second flight went a lot more smoothly — no breathing issues so I relaxed and enjoyed it. As expected, turns out flying is a lot of fun and a big adrenalin rush.
The children were fantastic and took to it really naturally. On your second go you can go really high as they speed up the fans to about 130 mph and the instructor will take you to the top at an extra cost (£6). It’s very quick but the children loved going super high — around 12 metres. My four-year old who didn’t pay any attention to the safety talk performed the best. It was so funny to watch her flying around.
After everyone had their second go it was time to take off all the gear. You then receive certificates which is a nice touch, especially for children. Also a big shout out to our Welsh instructor Anthony who really made our experience that much more special.
You can then view the official iFly photos on a screen.
Tip 6: Remember your helmet numbers so you can view the photos and videos at home (available for 3 months online). You can then decide if you want to buy any at home. Digital photos are only £5 each and free Facebook ones are available to download.
It took us an hour to get there from London and we were really exhausted when we got home. The day was a lot of fun and something really memorable for all of us. Within iFly there is Skiplex (indoor ski slope) and Brush Boarding (dry surfing) too. In the leisure park where iFly is located there’s a cinema, ice rink, Aquadrome and bowling! There’s also a Franky & Bennys and Costa right next to iFly. Basingstoke town centre is only a 5 minute drive where you can find all your usual high street shops and restaurants (including Pizza Hut!).
Essential Info: Flyers have to be aged 4 and over. The whole experience takes about 1 hour 30 mins. Not suitable if you’re pregnant or have dislocated your shoulder in the past or suffer from back pain. Female instructors available.
Address: iFly, Basingstoke Leisure Park, Euskirchen Way, Baskingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 6PG. Free carpark. Other locations in the UK are Milton Keynes & Manchester.
Cost: Varying. Starts from £30 per person off-peak. Family flight package of 10 flights is £160. Return flyers can book cheaper flights. Look out for offers and Tesco clubcard vouchers can be used too. More info on www.iflyworld.co.uk