So there I was, surrounded by a group of chatty, elderly women in the train…
In the last couple of months I was doubting to visit a wind tunnel to better prepare myself for AFF. At first I decided against it, the nearest tunnel was exactly at the opposite end of the country. The Netherlands isn’t exactly a very large country but it would take around 4 hours by train to get there for only a few minutes of flight.
However, about two weeks ago I talked to another pre-AFF student and his experiences were positive. I figured it would give some more confidence had I already experienced floating on air. So I booked myself a couple of sessions at Indoor Skydive Roosendaal.
So back to the train, it’s 12th of July and I’m relaxing in the train. The clouds provided a nice view to stare and daydream at. I got of the train and on the bus. After a couple of minutes walking I saw the building. On top of building I saw this piece of tunnel sticking out and I thought to myself: “No way that the actual diameter of that thing is that big!”
Here’s a picture of the building:
I went inside, checked in and went to the visitors area in the tunnel. It wasn’t operated yet but it was nice to see how the actual diameter was and how high it was. More and more people started to appear and we got our suits and got dressed up. After this, earplugs, helmets and goggles.
The group now went to the instruction area where a video was show about the procedures, handsignals, tunnel entry and of course, body position. After the video, our group of about 14 people went to tunnel area. Just as I wondered who would go first, my name was called out I thought, great I’m gonna set the stage here.. If it looks like I’m fighting for my life in there I would probably freak out the rest!
I was soon gonna find out. The instructor stepped in and I were to follow. The amount of wind noise and trust in physics convinced me that I was not gonna just fall flat on my face at this point. So I looked up, stretched out my hands and there I was on this cushion of air. My first thought was: “awesomeee”.. soon followed by: “Arch arch arch!”. Then I received some signals, expected to get the common extend your legs signal but I got the exact opposite. It was hard to really get a feeling for the position of my legs with all the wind pressing against it all. It was over before I knew it.
In the sessions after this I tried improving my body position. I messed around with my legs, often extending them a little too much, causing me to grind my face repeatedly into the wall and the camera that was recording the dvd. How charming! However somewhere between the 4th and 5th session something clicked and I found the right combination of extending my limbs in the right way. I was reasonably stable! I got the signal to make a turn. I gently made a turn, hurray! And another one. It felt great to finally have some degree of control. In the final session I did okay, and the instructor then took my flying up and down the tunnel. At this point I just enjoyed the ride.
Overall I think it was not only fun, but helpful as well!
I put a short movie together of some of my tunnel flying:
Hope you enjoyed!
I am now off to pack my bags! Tomorrow is the big day.. the start of AFF