I can fly! And that’s not a line from a song or a metaphor. I did fly on Christmas Day at the Indoor Skydive Center at Roosendaal, thanks to a wonderful gift from my husband.
What you do is not actual flying of course. It’s more a free fall experience created by some very powerful wind engines. You float in a wind tunnel as though you were undertaking a real free fall without actually jumping from an airplane. For amateurs like me it means less stress and more flight time.
The Skydive Center is a fairly large and modern building just outside Roosendaal, a small city on the Belgium – Netherlands border. Once you enter and fill in the obligatory form saying that you’ll not hold the company responsible if you hurt yourself or die, you are handed your equipment and given a training. The equipment, the arrangements and the instructers are all very tidy and professional.
Once inside the windtunnel it’s very noisy, so the instructors make sure you understand the hand signals before they take you into the tunnel. There’s an instructor inside the windtunnel to help you and show you what you have to do, and another one constantly tuning the airflow so you can have a steady ride. Thanks to the carefully-controlled airflow with variable adjustments, you can fly through the tunnel at a maximum speed of 275 kph (170 mph) in every dimension. I did a respectable 203 kph!
You enter the tunnel for 60 second sessions and around halfway of the second one, you start to get the hang of it and start enjoying yourself.
I was feeling anxious before entering the tunnel, but once inside it’s replaced by an adrenalin boost.
No need to say, I was terrible at the first session and marginally improved by the third but I was also having the time of my life, all thanks to Gunnar our flight instructor.
You can also purchase a DVD of your flight. Watching it later was fun, we relived the experience while laughing at the sheer terror on our faces in the first few seconds our respective flights.
It was a very merry Christmas indeed.