Have you ever thought about trying a Tandem skydive? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to learn to skydive?
I have 6 outdoor skydives, all Tandem jumps. I just represented Australia at a World Indoor Skydiving Championships and am ranked #13 indoor skydiving freestyle flyer in the world.
Most people assume it is intimidating to throw yourself out of a plane and it seems all the go with people trying a tandem skydive which I can highly recommend! I made my first tandem skydive at age 9 setting a record at the time as Australia’s youngest female skydiver and have made six tandem jumps since.
A tandem skydive can be an exhilarating way to try skydiving but some choose to do the AFF accelerated freefall course as a first jump.
During high school I worked at an outdoor skydiving centre watching many nervous customers doing their first skydives. I watched hundreds of people go through the AFF learn to skydive school and thousands of people trying a Tandem skydiving. Over the years I have had a lot of time to watch and see people training for skydiving and learning to skydive.
Indoor skydiving has now become my passion, career and has allowed me to represent Australia at international competitions where at some indoor skydiving competitions there is as much as USD $200,000 up for grabs as prize money. You can read more about that and my recent trip to Bahrain to represent Australia.
But back to trying skydiving for the fist time. You can make your first outdoor skydive by doing a tandem skydive or by completing a learn to skydive course, AFF as it is know which stands for Accelerated Freefall Course. Both my parents were outdoor AFF skydiving instructors so I was brought up from an early age thinking it was pretty normal to learn to skydive by jumping out of aeroplanes and for many years it was the only way you could try skydiving.
Some people love the challenge and thrill of doing their AFF solo skydive course. Indoor skydive training makes your AFF course progression a lot more fun allowing you to complete some fun relaxed training before you venture onto the sky for your AFF learn to skydive course.
Like everything things change, better technologies, better training methods evolve. Indoor skydiving is now without doubt a safe modern way to learn to skydive and start your skydive journey.
Let’s face it as much as we would all like to think we can emulate the adrenalin junkies we watch on You Tube, Vimeo, Instagram and social media most of us struggle to see how we could achieve such a life. Well I am here to tell you, you can, and its easy, fun and safe!
The fast progression indoor skydiving allows students is simply amazing. Below is one of my students during their first 10 minutes of learning to back fly, something outdoor skydive students would not learn proficiently until well after into their first 50 – 100 jumps if not longer. With indoor skydiving, progressing to back flying is one of the first early skill building steps after you have mastered basic belly flying (flat flying).
While it may look mundane to be learning to fly on your back its fun and challenging to coordinate your flying while on your back. Once you master basic belly flying and basic back flying you can start to build and join your skills and begin working on basic transitions allowing you to start to experience the beginnings of dynamic and other flying such as freestyle flying which is where indoor skydiving really starts to shine.
What do we mean by dynamic and freestyle flying? Checkout the short video clip below from my visit to Bahrain and the 2018 FAI World Cup of indoor skydiving to see what indoor flyers can achieve.
Indoor skydiving is a sport all ages can try from 3 onwards and the whole family and your friends can join in together. While indoor skydiving is similar to outdoor skydiving and used by many skydivers to train, indoor skydiving is so much more. Indoor skydiving is its own unique sport with its own rules, its own training, as well as state, national and world competitions. In fact indoor skydiving is on a journey to become one of the sports competing at the 2024 Olympics.
Indoor skydiving is exciting and very visual for audiences. It means even if family and friends don’t fly they can still join in and be part of the experience. To see how visually exciting and diverse indoor skydiving is you can checkout a quick clip from the most recent international competition where I represented Australia and now rank #13 freestyle flyer in the world.
Indoor skydiving allows flyers who may never have set foot near an aircraft or a parachute achieve flying skills much faster than outdoor skydiving.
Due to its easy access and accessibility indoor skydiving is becoming the modern and easy way to make skydiving your sport without having to learn to skydive wearing a parachute or step foot near an aeroplane. Indoor skydiving wind tunnels are open 7 days a week and you can schedule exact flight times so no waiting for weather or winds or rescheduling, indoor skydiving fits perfectly with busy lifestyles.
Want to drop in for some flying or coaching after work, no problems. One of the big attractions of indoor skydiving is how easy and convenient it is to get involved, fly with friends and meet new people.
Whether you are looking to learn to skydive outdoors or just looking for an amazing new sport, indoor skydiving will let you fast track your goals, build skills and have loads of fun.
Indoor skydivers are not all outdoor skydivers and there is a growing community in Australia and around the world who never venture into the sky, although a lot do try outdoor learn to skydive courses after becoming indoor Pro Flyers. Indoor skydivers are generally called Pro Flyers when at the tunnel. Pro Flyers can experience a much wider range of flying skills indoors involving pure body flight, learning to fly and control your body in the air with no physical restraints like parachutes and with no time restraints limiting your flights to a short 40-50 seconds as outdoor skydivers have to.
Indoor skydivers are free to fly for minutes at a time and explore body flight with no concerns about emergencies, parachutes or unpredictable weather. Indoors it is always prefect for flying and there is always an instructor on the door to make sure things run safely, smoothly and for friendly advice!
Like many sports, outdoor skydiving has evolved over the years. Where once it was thought first time students could not possibly do any free fall on their first jump and had to complete a static line jump before any freefall, now your first AFF learn to skydive jump can be from 14,000ft. The challenge for outdoor skydiving instructors is to teach skydive students how to fly their bodies in freefall while holding onto the student and trying to communicate and signal students. Students in freefall have to not only learn to fly but look after their equipment, safety and opening and flying parachutes to land safely after the jump. That’s a lot to take in the first time you jump out of an aeroplane and one of the reasons a lot of people try it once and don’t continue.
The same as skydiving equipment has evolved to become safer, better and reliable so has skydive training. Now there is an easier, safer and modern way to learn to skydive with indoor skydiving and wind tunnels.
You can checkout some of my other articles on the difference between indoor and outdoor skydiving and are they the same? and the journey of a few of my indoor students to the outdoors
Below two of my students completing some indoor skydive training at iFLY Downunder in Sydney before doing their outdoor AFF skydive course. Progression and learning is so much faster indoors where indoor skydiving instructors can easily communicate and teach in a relaxed learning environment with the aid of live video playback between flights.
When you indoor skydiving for the first time you have an instructor by your side the entire time helping you into and out of the wind tunnel and guiding your every move inside the tunnel while flying. Communication is relaxed and easy with your instructor able to clearly signal and communicate with you, no pressure or urgency as there may be during an outdoor skydive. Indoor skydiving allows much better skill building. If we need to consolidate a skill that has not been achieved we step out of the tunnel into the staging area, take a seat by the big TV, and watch the live replay video in a relaxed environment. We then step back into the wind and re try the skill.
Who would have thought learning body flight skills to help your outdoor AFF learn to skydive course could evolve to be so simple easy and fun in a relaxed safe indoor training environment.
Who would have thought learning body flight skills to help your outdoor AFF learn to skydive course could evolve to such simple easy levels. Rather than fail to reach a skill level outdoors where each AFF skydive is expensive, takes hours waiting for weather, parachutes to be re packed and slots on planes to become available. Indoors we can step into the wind tunnel not just for one 50-60 second skydive equivalent but for consolidated training equivalent to 5 , 10 or even 15 outdoor skydives in one easy 30min indoor skydiving session.
In one 30 minute indoor skydiving training session you can complete the equivalent or weeks of outdoor skydiving. Indoor skydiving is great value as each and every indoor flight you get your full 14,000ft equivalent freefall skydive every flight. Outdoor skydiving you are subject to the limitations of aircraft, weather, air traffic and it is not uncommon to have to exit the aircraft at lower altitudes shortening your freefall training time or having to open parachutes higher to make it back to landing areas also shortening freefall training times.
Normally Pro Flyers, do not fly short “one skydive” equivalent flights. Indoor Skydivers normally fly in blocks of time such as 5min, 10min or 15min rotating with other flyers. Depending on what each flyer is working on each rotation might be 1 min 40 seconds, 2 Min 30 seconds and even 3 minutes allowing better skill building and skill repetition. There are times where outdoor skydivers training for competitions do replicate the short outdoor freefall times and choose to train with short 60 second rotations.
Indoor skydiving is the modern, relaxed, safe way to learn to skydive with fast skill building and progression
Indoor skydiving is the modern way to learn to skydive with much faster skill building and progression, but it is so much more. Indoor skydiving is its own unique sport and different to outdoor skydiving it is open to a much wider range of flyers especially younger flyers who are unable to outdoor skydive and flyers who might never consider taking up outdoor skydiving. In fact it is these younger flyers who are now becoming the next generation of outdoor skydivers able to fly before their first skydive.
In Australia ISAGroup (Indoor Skydive Australia Group) created and led by a couple of ex Australian special forces visionaries saw the benefit of advanced indoor skydiving training facilities, wind tunnels. ISAGroup have built three indoor skydiving training wind tunnels in Australia located in Sydney, Perth and the Gold Coast bringing the dream of flight and indoor skydiving to everyone. Their Sydney facility iFLY Downunder, where I work is open 7 days a week and right next door to Penrith Panthers so there is plenty of parking and lots to do around the tunnel.
Training for outdoor skydiving (AFF) is a very specific skill progression so make sure you chat to your tunnel instructors and make sure your flying at the tunnel is properly focused towards preparing you for your outdoor AFF learn to skydive course. The outdoor skydiving progression and goals are slightly different to an indoor skydiving flyers goals and progression.
Any questions or advice let me know.
Indoor skydiving is a vibrant and exciting new sport inclusive of everyone of all abilities young and old, no experience required. If you are looking to start your outdoor skydiving then there is no better way to kickstart your journey safely and easily with some indoor skydiving. The skills and confidence you learn and build in the tunnel will be invaluable on your outdoor skydive journey.
Elise Brown is an indoor skydiving instructor and tunnel athlete passionate about health, lifestyle, fitness and the art of freestyle flight. You can fly or coach with Elise at iFLY Downunder in Sydney www.ifly.com.au