Come Fly with Me
I’ve never felt the desire to throw myself out of a plane. However, an intriguing invitation from Windoor Realfly to try out their simulator, and the fact that everybody else on the P-O Life team was ‘busy’ (code for too scared) that day, tempted me to give it a try.
Windoor Realfly have chosen Empuria Brava, just over the border in Spain, as the home of Europe’s largest Sky Diving Simulator. The ‘Tunnel’ attracts sky divers from around the globe, with the current world champions using it as their training base.
The simulator is a 5m high clear glass tube that works on the same principal as a wind tunnel. The wind within the tube ‘blows’ at around 160 km per hour depending on the weight and ability of the diver. The force of the wind allows you to be lifted from the ground and fly, unaided within the tube.
First comes the safety briefing, available in French, English, Spanish and German. Hand signals are explained (and promptly forgotten in my case, the moment I entered the tunnel). The perfect body position is then demonstrated and practised – all very straight forward when fully supported on a table!
When you feel confident in your new found ability to gracefully soar like an eagle, it’s off to be suited and booted. Helmets, Michelin Man Style suits and earplugs are provided. Be sure to wear lace up, tight fitting footwear.
The need for earplugs becomes apparent the moment you enter the waiting ‘zone’ – the noise from the wind tunnel is deafening – I began to wish I could remember those hand signals! Then it is your turn and you gingerly step/flop into the Tunnel where the extremely patient instructor is on hand to get you into position and stop you dropping to the floor – graceful eagle I am not.
The sensation can only be described as bizzare – akin to your first ever swim lesson. Body position is crucial – look down (the natural temptation) and you find yourself whizzing to the top of the Tunnel. Look up with your back arched too much and you flop to the gridded floor like a bird with it’s wings clipped. Get it right, even for just a few seconds and you immediately realise what all the fuss is about – you can fly!
The real thrill comes when the instructor flies with you – he spins you round at the bottom of the tube quickly gaining speed until you are spiralling to the top of the tunnel and back down again – fantastic.
You can fly from the age of 5 up to 120kg, though with the benefit of hindsight we wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with spinal problems! At 50 Euros a go, it may seem a bit pricey, but it really is a small price to pay for an experience that will last a lifetime. A video of your flight is given to you on a USB stick – proof that you did it!
A viewing bar and restaurant surround the glass tunnel and general entry is free of charge, so if you are still undecided or simply fancy seeing how the professionals do it, why not pop in for a drink next time you head over the border?
|Sector Aeroclub, s/n, 17487,
Tel. 972 45 40 40
Open 7 days a week