Mention the words ‘team building’ and most people think of problem-solving tasks that usually involve ropes and bits of wood and generally running about outside. Not the case with Innovation Visual! As you might expect from a creative bunch like us, our team-building day was a little different and it involved an indoor skydive at 100 miles per hour, courtesy of Airkix in Basingstoke.
Tim had arranged the skydive as a surprise and it certainly was! We were greeted with a massive vertical wind tunnel watching two guys launch themselves into gravity-defying positions in terrifying wind speeds of over 100 miles an hour. Only they don’t look remotely terrified. They look like they are having fun as they swirl and spin around inside, shooting up and down the tunnel. They also make it look oh- so- easy.
With sweaty palms and hearts thumping, we joined the briefing room and were taken through the safety procedures. Our mission was to achieve two two-minute long flights during which we would arrange ourselves into the desired flying position of chin up, arms forward and open, legs apart. If we could achieve this position, the instructor said, we stood the greatest chance of a smooth and enjoyable flight. The gravity geeks who we saw earlier will entertain us along the way but luckily we’re not expected to re-enact any of their moves!
Once we were trussed up in ninja-style jumpsuits and helmets, we were taken to the windtunnel to wait our turn. Dutifully lined up, we waited as each flyer stepped through the door and into the roar of the wind. Forget trying to stand up; the wind literally sucks you from underneath and you’re up, up and away. It’s the most incredible sensation being buffeted around by 100 MPH winds. You can’t hear a thing so you’re totally reliant on hand-signals and eye-contact with your instructor. We all try to remember the instructions but the optimal flying position isn’t nearly as easy to get into as you might think. It’s hard to know what your legs are doing and the temptation is to look down instead of straight ahead.
The minute is up before you know it and you’re rewarded with a video to watch of how well you did as you await your next go. Most of us look ridiculous (well, compared to the experts who periodically leap into the tunnel to show us their moves) but we all have a grin on our faces; this is seriously good fun.
Watching your colleagues flying is certainly something you don’t see everyday and it’s a great opportunity to go with the flow (a very strong one!) and enjoy the uniqueness of being airborne without being anywhere near a plane. We might not be body-flight experts but we definitely enjoyed trying!