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B.N.I. Members Fly High
Twenty members of the Collingtree and Sixfields chapters recently joined together to enjoy a breath taking evening of “bodyflying” at the world’s largest skydiving wind tunnel at Clapham, near Bedford . Bodyflying is the new sport of flying indoors on a column of air, accurately simulating skydiving whilst being only a few feet above the ground. Skydivers can use the tunnel as a training aid, although no experience is necessary. A person can learn to control their body in a vertical stream of air which supports their bodyweight, allowing them to navigate the air at any angle or fashion; you literally learn to fly!
Accompanied by wisecracks of - any Chinese fish & chip- shop owners amongst us? – if so, they would be ….flying tonight!” – we arrived at the former military science site and stood gazing up at the daunting height of the enormous 150-foot high flight chamber tower that was to be our home for the evening.
Once inside, we climbed up to the third floor and arrived in a very civilised reception area complete with training areas, locker rooms and DVD’s playing of skydivers rehearsing their amazing free falling routines. After introductions to the instructors we commenced our short classroom-training programme of what to do once we got inside the flight chamber. We then divided into three groups and went to change into our jump suits, complete with lightweight helmet and goggles.
The flying chamber is 26 feet in height and 16 feet in diameter and a massive fan being driven by a 4,000 h.p motor supplies the wind, giving unrivalled air quality, power and space to fly.
Soon it was our turn. We moved into the air lock and grouped outside the door of the chamber to view the “fate” of the other members who were on the list to fly before us.
Thank you to Julia Watson for organising such an amazing event. It was not only a wonderful experience for everyone, but it was good to see both chapters mixing together and discussing various topics throughout the evening. This is what the B.N.I. is all about.
As for myself, I have already booked another session. Only this time the flying will be five times longer. It’s like a drug - I’m completely hooked!
Garth Halestrap – Collingtree B.N.I.
Photography by Paul Lashmar www.wyvernphotography.co.uk