iFLY’s Nick Wake has kindly taken the time to answer some of our all-important questions. With famous faces, world records and a brief history – this is definitely one to read!
Q. How did the idea behind setting up an indoor skydiving club begin?
A. Simon Ward founded the UK business in the 2005. A couple of years prior to that he was walking off the drop zone, after his 19th jump of the weekend, when another jumper landed into him at high speed. The impact left him with a broken neck and nerve damage. He got a bit of time to think – 22 months in fact, while he recovered and during that time he thought about indoor skydiving. The first tunnel opened in Milton Keynes, branded as Airkix. There are now three tunnels in the UK, including Manchester and Basingstoke, which since October 2016 have been operating under the iFLY brand.
Q. What would you say makes you unique on the market?
A. The experience of flying indoor is totally unique! There is nothing else quite like it. What’s more it not just a thrill ride. It’s a sport, which the more you do it, the better you get.
Q. If you had one thing you could tell every customer what would it be?
A. It’s very safe.
Q. Has anyone famous ever come along on an indoor skydive?
A. Over the last eleven years all three tunnels have played host to several events ranging from exciting to unusual including: The Rugby World Cup trophy, a dog flight and numerous wedding proposals.
iFLY has also attempted (and conquered) its fair share of world records in its time including solving a Rubix Cube in the wind tunnel (3 minutes, 16 seconds), longest kiss in freefall (31 minutes, 4 seconds) and the first ever ‘longest indoor freefall’ by legendary adventurer, Bear Grylls, together with UK champion Skydiver, Al Hodgson and iFLY instructor Freddy Macdonald.
Celebrities love to fly. Shortly before signing for LA Galaxy, David Beckham hired iFLY Milton Keynes exclusively for his family and friends as a New Year treat.
Other celebrity visitors also include: England football captain Wayne Rooney, radio DJ Joe Wiley, Take That singer Mark Owen, rapper Dizzee Rascal, glamour model Katie Price, model Elle Macpherson and Motorcycle racer and TV personality Guy Martin who filmed at iFLY Manchester during his TV documentary series, ‘Speed’.
A. Pretty much anyone can do it. One of our proudest achievements is our capacity for flying people with physical or mental disabilities. We get involved in lots of charity initiatives and are a great supporter of the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association (BLESMA).
Q. Do you have any plans for the future? i.e. expanding etc.
A. Yes. Our mission is to deliver the dream of flight to everyone so iFLY tunnels are popping up all over the world. As for the UK….watch this space!
Q. Do you have anything you would like to add that has not been covered?
A. Our instructors like to think of themselves as the rock stars of the business and as far as our customers are concerned…they are! What many people don’t realise is that it takes many hours of training and great physical fitness to make it as an instructor. Those that do, get to live their dream of flight every day.
Nick Wake, Marketing Director, iFLY.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Nick for taking the time to answer some of our questions. Who knew that iFLY has broken World Records and seen so many Celebrity faces!