Oh boy! 7th April 2007. And this time I am flying without an airplane or glider... just me (and a rather tasty bloke called Jules) and an effing great wind tunnel!
B buys me unusual Christmas presents - and Christmas 2006 he bought me 'full body flying' - in other words free fall without the 'fall'. I booked the date and over we all went to Milton Keynes to Airkix. I had 5 2 minutes sessions in the wind tunnell and I learned to go left, right, up and down (though very wobbly, I have to admit). It was amazing!
I think if would like to become addicted to anything, then it has got to be adrenalin! I am a bit old for extreme sports (and creaky, and crunchy bones and the like), but once a year I am definitely up for the high that you get doing something really mad like flying a Tiger Moth, gliding or - as in this case - full body flying.
The experience is unique (apart of course from sky diving - then of course you have a parachute too and the opportunity to go 'bump' very hard at the end). The noise is terrific, even with earplugs and a helmet. You learn hand signals from your instructor before hand because there's no way you can talk when you are in there. The space is quite limited but goes up quite a few feet. So you can spin around down low (or land on the grid on the bottom on your bum like I did once) and then 'fly' up higher.
You 'fall' into the tunnel to get into the airstream, and the instructor is with you all the way - pulling you away as you bump into the glass walls, steadying you when you go into a spin, grinning at you madly as they can see your obvious enjoyment (or perhaps terror in some cases). Position is important as it keeps you stable, moves you from side to side or makes you go up and down in the airstream. You have to keep your head up - looking forward all the time so you have no sense of height - just that wonderful, floating, flying sensation. And the pummell of the wind, and the roar of the air, and the rush of blood.
It was just amazing. I had a grin from 'ear to eternity' afterwards. The following day my shoulders ache of course, imagine pressing your arms hard against a wall for a long time and its that kind of ache - across the muscles in the neck and shoulder. But I don't care! I really, really enjoyed it and would go again tomorrow if I could a) afford it b) get a lot fitter a lot quicker!
So - next year? I think I may just fall out a plane next year. The thought terrifies me and exhilarates me at the same time! What a buzz that would be.... (quick... gimme some more adrenalin... )