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Solo Windtunnel - Advice

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#1 napalm

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 06:03 AM

Hey all, I posted this on dz.com and was recommended I pop in here as well. I have a business trip coming up soon and have arranged for 1 free day which will be dedicated to the wind tunnel (Bodyflight Bedford, UK). Friday September 20th for those interested.

I have a bit less than 200 jumps, all belly flying and this will be my first tunnel trip. I would like some advice on how to make this as cost-effective as possible whilst still improving my skills at a decent rate. I have a few options available to me. 

Option 1: 1 hr BPA offer for September. 
Option 2: 30min block in 1hr. 
Option 3: 3 or 4 10min blocks taken over 4-5 hours. 

Option 1: I've read through various threads that anything more than 30-40 minutes in a day for a first time flyer will be tiring and you start getting into diminishing returns which isn't worth it. For this reason I am tempted to toss Option 1 out the window - I wonder if it would be possible to 'share' this time with someone else. 

Option 2: 30 minutes in a 1 hour block. This seems a bit like overkill to me with almost no time to debrief and reflect on what went wrong how to improve - due to my lack of experience in the tunnel though I don't know if this thought process is right or wrong. 


Option 3: I am tempted to go option 3 - picking up 10 minute blocks at a more relaxed pace in order to (I think) get the most out of the experience. This is where things start getting costly - coach time is charged per hour regardless of flying time so if I spread out my sessions over 3-4 hours then £££££. Not to mention that the per minute cost will be higher as well.

I was considering taking an un-coached first 10 minutes in order to get comfortable alone in the tunnel with just hovering in place and working on simple drills (i.e. neutral hover, accuracy and speed of turns, side-sliding and perhaps even playing tag with the 4 'corners' of the room. Then spending money on the coach to work on more advanced belly flying. I say this because I've read a lot on how tunnel flying can be daunting at first to even very experienced skydivers (different visual cues, quality of air etc.) 

So in short, there's no one specific question in here but any advice would be very much appreciated. blush.gif 

Also my initial plan was to pay for one of the on-site coaches - I've heard 'stories' of other coaches willing to teach there on a per minute basis - any idea where I can find these mythical creatures? :)

Thanks in advance, 

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#2 BruH5200

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 02:37 PM


At the moment, I am "only" a tunnel flyer, so I'll tell you from that perspective.

Whenever you fly in a tunnel (in the UK at least), there will always be an instructor with you.

They are responsible (within reason) for your safety.

They vary in what they are qualified to teach you, but in the main would be able to do belly, back and sit.

Head down might require a higher qualified instructor.


How long you fly depends on your fitness level, but I would go for option 3, 3 or 4 10 min blocks taken over 4-5 hours.


If you want "coaching" then suggestions at Bedford would be:

Claire "Sparky" Scott - for FS Belly Coaching



Adam "Killa" Mattacola - for FF coaching



Hope that helps.

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#3 Spencer61

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 01:06 PM



I've also taken the 1hr BPA offer at Bedford and was looking to break the hour down as you've suggested in your option 3 however when I rang up to book it they told me that they only allow 2 30 minutes slots for this offer. They are very helpful in finding you rotations and then it will be up to you and the guys your rotating with as to how long your going to spend in the tunnel each time. I was having one on one coaching while my rotation was a 4 way so it was decided we'd do 1:40 turns (18 rotations) which worked out fine. It allowed me plenty of rotations to practice and then redo if things didn't go to plan.


Work out exactly what you want to practice and achieve on each rotation and write on a white board to help your remember (just ask at reception for the white board). I started off with back to basics, body pos, 360 turns, back and forth, up and down, side sliding and then got onto taking grips, moving around the coach, outwards facing moves. Its amazing what you can get done in 30 minutes. I'm back in for my 2nd half hour this Tuesday with 3 guys to nail down my 4 way FS1 work.


Your right about the instructors there though, I was quoted £1 per minute so including rotations would work out about £120 for the hour but your get what you pay for, these guys live in the tunnels and your skills would advance at a pretty rapid pace. However you can take your own instructor at probably a slightly cheaper rate and they will also probably be sky ninjas or if your really lucky and you have a mate who's pretty good they'll do it for free.


It sounds like we're in a similar position so hopefully this little bit of 'advice' about the route I chose will help you!!

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