A new modern fast and comfortable alternative to kick start your skydiving training with indoor skydiving.
Have you ever thought about learning to skydive? It certainly seems a little intimidating and that’s why, once you try your first skydive, it is so much fun. Outdoor skydiving is a must have to put on your bucket list, either a tandem skydive or the AFF learn to skydive course.
An AFF student with two instructors exits the aircraft
In the past the only way you could learn to skydive was to visit a skydiving centre and do your full days AFF ground training. As long as you pass the ground training you would normally do your AFF Stage 1 jump on the second day.
AFF stands for Accelerated Freefall, a fast paced learn to skydive training course offered at skydiving centres around the world. Generally an AFF student will complete 1 jump on day two of training, possibly a second jump, thereafter it will depend on the ability of the student but an average of 2-3 jumps per day.
There are two or three major components to your first skydive and one of those is your basic freefall flying skills and control of your freefall. To be honest most first time outdoor AFF skydive students do not have much real control on stage 1, that’s why you have two instructors holding onto you and guiding you.
Stage 1 AFF is all about:
- In aircraft safety and equipment handling
- A basic exit from the aircraft
- A basic hard arch in freefall
- Demonstrating altitude awareness
- Deploying your parachute at the correct altitude
- Guiding your parachute back to the landing area
- Dealing with any emergencies in freefall and under your parachute
There is only so much you can fit into a one day course and only so much your brain can handle when you throw yourself out of an aircraft for the first time. It its called sensory overload!
The traditional AFF course therefore focuses on a basic hard arch in freefall, deploying your parachute and being able to safely fly and land your parachute. In additional a good portion of the ground training and written examination is dedicated to emergency procedures and unusual scenarios.
Not all students pass their AFF ground training and at most skydive centres are then required to do a tandem skydive before trying to continue with the AFF course.
AFF student getting going through a final practise
Looking for an easier, faster and modern way to kick start your skydive training?
Indoor Skydiving is the answer. It’s easy, fast and convenient.
Indoor Skydiving is here in Australia and is taking off in a big way as more people discover how easy and convenient it is to kick start their skydiving skills. The weather is always 100% perfect for indoor skydiving. Most of us are busy and time scarce so it’s great to know you can schedule your indoor skydive training down to the exact hour of the day that fits in with your schedule. Tunnels are generally open from early through to 9pm daily. You can check with your local tunnel when booking for up to date opening hours at the iFLY website www.ifly.com.au
iFLY have three indoor skydiving training centres in Australia: In Sydney, Perth and on the Gold Coast. I work at the Sydney iFLY Downunder tunnel in Penrith next to Penrith Panthers.
Its super convenient to schedule your training with each session running every half hour. Flyers book their required flying time ranging from 5 minutes up to 10 minutes and 15 minutes or more. Flyers rotate in and out of the wind in small flying increments of 50 seconds, 1 minute 40 seconds , 2 minute 30 seconds etc taking their turns flying and training.
If you are just looking to get a taste of indoor skydiving you can choose a 2 flight or 4 flight package but if you’re serious about learning to skydive and building your flying skills you need to book whats called a Fast Track package. This is a package giving you 10 flights where you work with an instructor who coaches and trains you in the basic points of motion including forwards movement, backwards movement, up, down and turns. If you’re making indoor skydiving part of your outdoor learn to skydive plan then as an instructor I would generally suggest booking two Fast Track packages. Your first fast track will gain you some basic body awareness and some basic movement skills. Your second fast track you can really start to develop and refine your flying skills.
See below for a breakdown example of visiting the tunnel after work for training midweek.
- 5pm first fast track with a 4pm check in time
- 10 flights spread over the 30min session
- 5:30pm debrief with your instructor, watch your videos
- Rest, have break and think on your flying grab a meal
- 7pm or 7:30pm second fast track finished by 7:30 – 8pm
Above is just one example, tunnels are open 7 days so you are free to choose the day and time that suits. Fast track packages can be dependent on availability or instructors so best to book in nice and early once you know what dates you’re interested in. For those who don’t live in the same city as a tunnel it is not uncommon to see students and flyers fly to one of the tunnel locations for a weekend or a day midweek to do their training and then fly home.
Indoor skydiving has allowed some amazing progression and allows things simply not possible in outdoor skydiving. Below a father and son undertaking their second Fast Track package on the same day with a tunnel instructor and an AFF skydive instructor. This is a level of flying unheard of for outdoor skydiving students, normally you would complete all your outdoor AFF jumps (9 stages) and then have to wait until B-Rels before flying with others outdoors.
With the indoor training environment and the close supervision we can really fast track flyers learning skills. *Progression is based on each persons ability and your instructor will pace your learning at a comfortable level.*
A normal Fast Track is run by a single instructor and there are no additional training aids used during flying, the photo below is just an example of one of the many training methods starting to become common with the advancement of indoor skydiving.
A tunnel instructor and an AFF skydive instructor training AFF students
It is amazing value that you can complete the equivalent of 10-20 outdoor skydives from 14,000ft all within the same day. You can also split your flying over two days or different weeks if you prefer a slower approach. No weather delays, a comfortable relaxed training environment and you always get your set flying time with full close up video footage on every flight for debriefing.
A Fast Track package (ideally two), is a great way to give yourself a kick start and improve your flying skills. A Fast Track package does not include any skydive specific training or drills, it focuses on body flight and developing your flying skills.
Once you are ready to do your outdoor skydive ground training and AFF jump you will be a step ahead and more confident knowing you have mastered basic flying skills. It may help reduce sensory overload. When you jump out of an aeroplane there is no way to fully prepare for what it feels like and you will absolutely get sensory overload on exiting the aircraft, your AFF ground training covers this.
Flying and training in the tunnel is similar to outdoor skydiving however they do have their slight differences. Indoors you have a lot of visual references and any movement provides a lot of visual feedback so you will get used to controlling your heading and hover, your up and down levels in the tunnel. Once you are outdoors at 14,000ft you don’t have all the visual references so it is common for outdoor AFF students to be back sliding or turning without being aware, that’s why you have two instructors with you on your stage 1 AFF jump.
Indoor skydiving is such amazing fun and a great training tool to prepare for your outdoor skydive. Indoor skydiving is also a fast growing sport so even if you decide outdoor skydiving is not for you come join us indoors for some fun.
You can find more information on your closest AFF training skydive centre at the website of the Australian Parachute Federation
For further information on indoor skydiving and to book your first indoor skydive checkout the IFLY website for details.
So why not join me for the start of your indoor skydiving adventure. I look forward to seeing you in the wind.
Elise Brown is an indoor skydiving instructor and tunnel athlete passionate about health, lifestyle, fitness and the art of freestyle flight. See more at www.elisebrown.com.au
Elise and a first time student at iFLY Downunder in Sydney