Reviewed by Kerri Chard
If you have ever dreamt of Sky Diving but thought it was too scary or too expensive then try Airkix. An indoor alternative to launching yourself out of an aeroplane, it is a genius way of getting a real flying experience! We tried out the wind tunnel in Basingstoke and had the most exhilarating time.
Airkix Basingstoke is easy to find. Located on the Basingstoke Leisure Park it is at home next door to long standing popular venues such as the Bowlplex and Odeon Cinema, and there is plenty of free parking. On arrival, it is satisfyingly obvious that the venue is new. Only a year old, it is modern, clean and inviting. No time wasting, the venue uses a computerised arrival system which is simple to use, however be assured that a number of very friendly staff are on hand if you need assistance.
Once you are signed in you are guided up to the activity foyer. Here you will find seating areas which double as viewer platforms, refreshments, the Wind Tunnel and the SkiPlex (we hope to review this at a later date). You can’t help but notice the massive Wind Tunnel which dominates the area. Its transparent design really lends itself to providing a perfect spectator activity, which is ideal if you are with a large party or just want to see how it’s done before your own attempt.
Time for a safety brief. The instructor allocated to us was extremely enthusiastic which really helped to build excitement and at the same time clearly highly professional and confident. The safety video only takes around 10 minutes and provides essential information to ensure you get the most out of your indoor sky dive. Ignore the advice of the instructor and the video and I guarantee you will not make the most of your experience.
Whilst you are getting suited up in the special gear (goggles, ear plugs, flying suite etc…) ready for your flight, the clear wind tunnel really engages you as flyers take to the air. We even got to watch some of the pros demonstrate their unbelievable competition level tunnel skills. Upon entering the outer circle of the wind tunnel to await our turn we were instantly aware of how loud the wind tunnel is. This really got the adrenalin pumping. Be warned this almost meant we got very warm very quickly so don’t go wrapped up in layers even if you visit on a cold day.
Now it was our time to fly. Your allocated safety brief instructor is with you at all times. Without them you would probably bounce off of the sides of the wind tunnel like a pin ball! So as you leap into the wind taking care to relax (we were informed and indeed discovered that girls are better at this than boys!) your instructor guides you gently to the centre and holds you in place until they are comfortable that you are holding a good flying position and of course are enjoying yourself. The instructor will then slowly release you allowing you some unaided flight time – don’t forget to smile for the camera located on the wall of the control booth.
The instructor also offers to give you a tandem white-knuckle experience which will see you circling at high speeds to the top of the wind tunnel and back down again several times in the safe clutches of the professional. I highly recommend you use some of your flight to have a go at this as it is extremely exhilarating.
The experience is 2 minutes in total on your first visit. This doesn’t sound very long, and indeed it goes very quickly, but on a real sky dive you would free-fall for less than a minute so in reality you are getting much more air time. If you can master a solo flight it is very satisfying and will leave you wanting more. All of your accomplishments in the tunnel are recorded so that if you do return again you can skip straight to some more advanced tunnel activities.
Whatever your reason, whether that be a fear of the real thing, a fun family day out or an activity for you and your friends, I highly recommend that people give this a go. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that thankfully you can do over and over again. Trust me, you will want to! And as a thank you from Airkix for your repeat business, you will find that your second visit will be a lot friendlier on your wallet.
Also located at the Basingstoke venue is the UKs’ first permanent Brushboarding slope. This is essentially surfing without getting wet. I have tried to surf before very unsuccessfully but after a few attempts to stay up right on the brush board I started to get the hang of it. This would make a brilliant group activity for all ages. We also agree with the complex staff that it would also lend itself to a fitness work out because after only a couple of goes we were feeling the burn!
A great venue with lots to do for all the family. And Happy 1st Birthday Airkix Basingstoke.
From £39.99 (Gift vouchers available)
Basingstoke (Manchester and Milton Keynes)
*Basingstoke Leisure park, Hampshire
Opening Times – Airkix Basingstoke:
Monday-Friday 1600 – 2100
Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays 0700 – 2300
Monday-Friday 1000 – 2100
Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays 0700 – 2300
*Off Peak times apply
Basingstoke is the latest Airkix location in fact it is currently celebrating its one year anniversary. There are three great activities on site including: the super-smooth, super-fast wind tunnel for indoor skydiving; the UK’s first permanent Brushboarding slope – ‘surfing without the wet stuff’; and party rooms, which make it an ideal venue for kids parties, stag parties, family fun and much more.
For more information visit/call: www.airkix.com / 0845 3316549
Airkix Indoor Skydiving, Basingstoke Leisure Park, Euskirchen Way, Basingstoke, RG22 6PG