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9 Reviews

Airkix MK Ltd / 602 Marlborough Gate / Central Milton Keynes / MK9 3XS / Tel: 0845 331 6549.

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    9 Reviews
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      30.08.2011 14:28
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      a great gift but would make an expensive hobby

      What is it?
      Airkix is basically indoor skydiving, brilliant for those who would like to experience flight but without actually jumping out of a plane. It's also a cheaper alternative.
      Airkix have two centres in the UK, one in Milton Keynes and one in Manchester. I recently visited the Manchester Airkix and therefore that will be the focus of my review.

      Airkix is basically a vertical wind tunnel. Air is circulated through the tunnel and into the flight chamber. Manchester's flight chamber is bigger and more powerful than the one in Milton Keynes, reaching a maximum speed of 180mph. Flying at Airkix Manchester is apparently equivalent to skydiving from 12 thousand feet.
      Anybody over the age of 4 can fly at Airkix as long as they are ion good health, have no shoulder or back problems, are not pregnant and are in good health (no heart conditions, etc). There is however a weight restriction, so those over 18 stone cannot fly.

      Prices
      Airkix has to bands of pricing, Off Peak or any time. Off peak is Monday to Friday 11 am to 4pm, except during school holidays when off peak changes to 9am to 10am. To fly on a weekend or Bank Holiday you will pay the anytime price.
      There are then many different packages to choose from.
      These are:
      Early Bird kix Start - which is only available at Milton Keynes
      Kix Start - 2 flights Off Peak £41.99 Anytime £46.99
      Air Born - 4 flights Off Peak £67.99 Anytime £72.99
      Learn To Fly- 10 flights Off Peak £159.99 Anytime £179.99
      Family Flight - 10 flights (can be shared between 5 people) Off Peak £159.99 Anytime £179.99
      Each package includes a pre-flight breifing, covers the cost of the instructor and you also get a personal certificate.
      After your first time, if you return within 3 months you are entitled to cheaper flights.
      Manchester is slightly more expensive than Milton Keynes, I assume this because it's bigger and has more power.
      Gift vouchers are also available.

      Booking
      Flights can be booked online at www.airkix.com or by telephone 08453316549.

      Location
      Manchester Airkix is located next to Chill Factor E near the Trafford Centre. Take junction 10 off the M60 and it is signposted from there.

      Other info
      Airkix provide the jump suits, helmets, goggles and ear plugs at no extra cost. each flight lasts for one minute.
      There is a cafe bar situated in the viewing gallery selling beer, spft drinks, tea, coffee and snacks. Yet flyers are not allowed to consume any alcohol before a flight.
      Flyers must arrive one hour before their flight time, lace up shoes must me worn and all flyers must complete a statement of risk on arrival. Photographs and DVD of flights are available to buy afterwards.

      My Experience
      For my boyfriend's birthday last November his sister presented him with a box from buyagift.com. Inside was a voucher for indoor skydiving for two. It was valid until September 2011 and included a free DVD of the flight. He was going to redeem the voucher in January but if truth be told it's not really his scene so he just let it sit in the box. I however love getting a thrill, especially a cheap one and so after much nagging he finally booked it for Monday 22nd August.
      We knew it was going to be a pain to get to as although he can drive, he doesn't own a car and I cannot drive at all. we hopped on the met from our home in Radcliffe, into Piccadilly Gardens and got the 250 to the Trafford Centre.
      Now I love my boyfriend dearly but he has a habit of not checking the small print. So firstly he hadn't checked the location and wasn't sure where to get off the bus, we got off on the wrong side of the Trafford Centre and ended up having to walk for 20 minutes before we found it, he also hadn't read the rule about lace up footwear and there I was wearing my sandals. But most importantly he hadn't read the rule about having to be there an hour before. So 2 hours after setting off from home we had reached our destination and unable to fly.
      The staff on the desk were quite helpful and informed us of our options, we could change to later in the day at no extra cost, but the only slot they had available was 9pm, this would mean hanging around for 9 hours or we could change it to another day at a cost. At first we chose the following Monday but as this was a bank holiday it would've cost us and extra £24, so we opted for the Friday at a cost of £10.
      So Friday arrived and we managed to blag a lift of my mum and it only took us 20 minuted straight down the motorway.
      Airkix has very ample parking so finding a space wasn't a problem.
      We booked in and then were directed to some PC's to complete or statement of risk, this took about 2 minutes. We were then told that our instructor was called Chris and he would call us in at 5.15pm and we would fly at 6pm.
      Excitement and apprehension were starting to build up inside me and I was busting for a wee, all in all I think I had about 3 wees while waiting for our class. This isn't helped by the fact you wait in viewing gallery and see everybody else flying and I didn't really like the idea of everyone watching me.
      At 5.15pm we were called into the classroom by a god like creature, this was Chris our very handsome instructor. we watched a ten minute video on different hand signals, stances, etc. The Chris gave us a brief outline on what it feels like in the chamber and gave us some tips like, "don't open your mouth cos you'll look a fool".
      There was about 8 other people in our class. We were told we would all get 2 goes each, 2 minutes of flying time altogether.
      We were then taken out of another situated behind the flight chamber and given our equipment. There is no need for changing rooms as you put the jump suit on over your normal clothes. There are lockers available for bags, glasses, jewellery at the price of £1 but this is none refundable. I just gave my bag with all my stuff in it to the instructor who put it in the equipment room.
      All the goggles were yellow except one pair of red ones, apparently whoever picks these goes first.
      While I was waiting around for my turn I got more and more nervous and more aware of the people watching in the gallery, when it got to my turn I felt fine on entry but once in there I struggled a little. I wasn't very good at it. The idea is that you keep yourself in one position unless the instructor gives you the signal, I found this very hard and kept going down, and when I went down, instead of keeping my hands and arms where they were my natural reaction was defensive and put them out to protect myself even though I knew there was noway I could fall.
      In the chamber itself, it's a very weird sensation, it's cold , it's very fast and takes a moment to catch your breath. It's not a bad sensation at all and despite being ultra crap at it I also found it exhilarating and very enjoyable. I also have to admit my boyfriend was much better than me.
      Afterward Chris presented us with our certificates and proofs of the photos were sent to us via email the next day to see if we wished to purchase any of them.
      watching the DVD was a little boring as it wasn't just us on it, it was all our class but they usually charge £14.99 for these but it was included with the gift.
      I'm not sure how much is sister paid for this, she has admitted that at the time she bought it buyagift.com had a sale on, I've just looked on the site and it's now £98.

      Overall
      This could prove to be a bit of expensive hobby for some. I am glad I tried it but if it hadn't been a gift I would never have paid for this myself. It's something a bit a different and would be great for adrenalin junkies. I would highly recommend this to anybody who can afford to go. Despite the short flight times, it's very rare to get a buzz like it.

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      • More +
        16.05.2011 11:22

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        My 2nd visit to Airkix and they still haven't quite got it right.

        The flight was superb, can't fault the instructor either. He made the flight fun and enjoyable. My problem is the kids on the counter. Same as everywhere else nowadays and they just don't have a clue. Charged me £5 extra for something I already paid for last year when I booked this thing!!! Wouldn't even listen properly to my explanation, just charged me. Massive queue behind me so I paid it under protest. When I rang the branch next day they never answered the phone (they never do) so I rang the premium line. Guess what? They answered immediately and although they agreed with my explanantion insisted the girl was right to charge me as she knew no better!!!
        To make it worse I got home to find I have been given a blank DVD by same girl(s) who seemed more interested in chatting than customers. All in all the day that cost me £121 was tarnished.

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        03.04.2011 22:48
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        Do it.

        ~~*~~*~~ Airkix ~~*~~*~~

        I have two brothers for my sins; one gave me a spiral egg holder (as requested) for Christmas which I should actually receive next month; the other was much more creative - he purchased me an Airkix voucher and for this reason he shall receive a much better birthday present this year.

        ~~*~~ Flying without wings ~~*~~

        The concept of Airkix is simple - parachuting without the plane/parachute/possible death. You know those wind tunnels that they test the aerodynamics of random things in - it's that but upright. The first people to think of this and use it for fake flying was the American military in 1964, it wasn't until 1982 when the idea of using it for fun caught on and Las Vegas grabbed the idea. SkyVenture have built 17 tunnels, the first to be built in Europe was Milton Keynes and the second in Manchester - handily just down the road from me.

        ~~*~~ Off to a flying start ~~*~~

        My brother in his wisdom booked our flight (he got his fiancée a flying voucher too) for 10.00 - not a bad time on the face of it but you're required to arrive at least an hour beforehand and it's an hour's drive away meaning I had to drop the dogs off at me mother's by 8 on a bankholiday when legally I should have been fast asleep. Grump over, just thought I'd mention it.
        You can book everything online including the time and fill in all your details so when you arrive you just have to sign the waiver and off you go. Well, not quite, you're forced to sit through a wonderful information video for 15 minutes which wasn't that bad but good lord, the benches could really have done with a cushion on them. Then the instructor came in and repeated a few details and asked us some questions to make sure we understood the hand signals (I'm not going to tell you the details as it'll make it all the more exciting when you go to see for yourself).
        We then trotted single file and a little quiet into the next room for our outfits.

        ~~*~~Flying by the seat of your jumpsuit ~~*~~

        Yep, you do have to wear a rather fetching jumpsuit which unfortunately did some people no favours but quite honestly, you don't care when you're flying. You keep your own clothes on and as long as your shoes are firmly attached to your feet, you don't have to borrow the spare daps. You're given a pair of goggles, ear plugs and a lovely helmet. We were now pretty much deaf as a group but luckily we'd had instructions on the next section but it was strangely scary. Now I know what happens I'm itching to go again though.

        ~~*~~ Fly on the wall ~~*~~

        You're then filed into the outside section of the windtunnel and the doors are sealed behind you and your instructor. You sit in a row and shuffle along each time until it's your go - there were 8 in our group and the time flew by (see what I did there, ha, hilarious...anyway). My time was split into 2 flights of 1 min, the fiancée-in-law had a better package (well, he is going to marry her) and she got 3 flights of 2 mins (lucky cow). The actual wind tunnel is made up of Perspex panels so as you enter the outer section cameras flash and your mother waves wildly in your direction. Luckily everyone's as embarrassed as you are and you don't notice. You literally lean through a doorway with your arms crossed into the windtunnel and the air magically supports you - don't worry, you're not whisked upwards to your doom - the clever flight instructor controls the windspeed and changes it accordingly so that you remain vaguely level. I say 'vaguely' because your body remains in position providing you yourself don't move - for example, moving your head down or placing your legs closer together makes you move around. The flight instructor helps you by moving your body into certain positions which I found really interesting as I like to learn new things - on further flights they improve your techniques and brother dearest, if you're reading this, Christmas is just around the corner.
        If you have time to look, there is a clock counting down your time (you don't have time to look so don't worry) but this is mostly for the benefit of the instructor. Above this is the controller man - this is particularly important because within his little booth is the camera - smile constantly if you're wanting to purchase a memento (I didn't but I still stole the pictures from their website). Bear in mind there is also a dvd available (mine was free in the package thing I got - it's boring but I guess it could be entertaining if someone spews in the tunnel).
        You're asked at some point whether you'd like to go to the top of the tunnel (it's supposed to be an extra £5 but for some reason we never paid) - do it. It's amazing!

        ~~*~~ Pigs may not fly ~~*~~

        Whilst it is probably not possible for my lovely dog, Pig, to have a go (due to there being no ear plugs large enough) most people are accepted - there was a 6 ish year old boy having a go in our group, a man with a prosthetic leg and a very old fat bloke whose face jiggled a lot under the wind pressure.
        You may not fly if you are:
        Over 18 stone
        Under 4 (under 18 needs parental/guardian signature)
        Are pregnant
        Under the influence of alcohol/non-prescribed drugs
        Are wearing a hard cast
        Have previously dislocated your shoulder (some poor bloke in our group had done his over 10 years ago and the instructor told him he could still fly but it was likely his shoulder would pop out again - needless to say the man didn't want to take the risk).
        I think this is probably the first 'activity' I've not had to declare my epilepsy which is a refreshing change - it does say to tell the instructor about any heart, neck or back problems but hurrah, I don't have any of those.

        ~~*~~ A fly in the ointment ~~*~~

        It was a lovely gift and I've spoilt it by looking at the prices but hey ho: all in the name of review writing. It's not a cheap pastime - £29.99 buys you 2 mins. I know I charge a lot to walk dogs but £900 an hour is pretty expensive! The more you fly the cheaper the packages you can purchase but for me it was more of a fantastic present that I would like to have again but not something I would buy for myself. I don't think it would replace the feeling of a real skydive (brother, if you're reading take note) but if you were a serious skydiver in need of practice, it's definitely cheaper. The prices for the merchandise aren't that ridiculous - the photos were on a par with those from the rides at Blackpool, the t-shirts for example are a tenner which would be a nice memento for some. You can purchase photos and the rest of the merchandise from the website - just remember the date and time you flew.

        For more information than you can shake a stick at, go to www.airkix.com - everything you need is on there. Or if you're too lazy to click on that link, then maybe you could pick up the phone and call them on 0845 3316549 for any enquiries. I found them very nice people (especially our rather attractive flight instructor, mmmmm, man in tight suit...) so I'm sure they'll be happy to chat to you.

        Caroline & Pig
        April 2011

        Both enjoying the wind.

        Review will appear elsewhere, probably.

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          03.05.2010 21:22
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          An experience for the whole family which you'll be talking about for ages!

          Woohoo! Today was my son's birthday and for a family birthday treat we took his best friend and all went to try out indoor skydiving at Airkix.

          What is it?
          ~~~~~~~
          Well, it's basically skydiving without needing to a) jump out of a plane or b) land - the two scariest elements which have always put me off! It takes place in a vertical wind tunnel and is a great way to experience freefall in a safe environment.

          Where is it?
          ~~~~~~~~
          There are two venues, Milton Keynes and Manchester - we went to the Manchester one, which is right near the Trafford Centre.

          Who's it for?
          ~~~~~~~~
          Well, they say ages 4 - 104, as long as you're not pregnant, over 18 stone, or someone with back problems or a previously dislocated shoulder. They recommend it for team-building days and the like - which I would imagine would be rather fun. Personally I think you'd have to have a confident 4 year old and a pretty active 104 year old to stretch quite to the limits of their recommended age range, but as long as you're reasonably fit and healthy you should be OK.

          What's included?
          ~~~~~~~~~~~
          Well, there are various packages - we had a family package and a one person package (my son's friend wasn't allowed to count as part of the family package).

          The one person beginner's package included training, equipment hire, two one-minute flights, and a dvd of the group's flights.

          The family package included training, equipment hire, ten minutes flight shared between family members (we had two 1m15s flights each) and a dvd of the group's flights.

          There are other packages available if you want to fly for longer, do a more intensive course etc. and if you've flown before it all starts getting a lot cheaper.

          A group of flyers (up to about 15 I think - though there were only 7 in ours - go into the wind tunnel area together, then take it in turns to fly.

          What does it cost?
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Well, we got ours using the Tesco Clubcard Rewards (yippee!), but the packages we had should have cost £170 and £55 respectively. Beginners prices seem to start at around £30 (if you book online, can go off-peak and don't have a dvd)

          What training do you get?
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          As beginners, we watched a short training dvd showing the body position we should be aiming for and the hand signals the instructor would use. We then got to practice while lying on a table! Each person got about a minute at a time in the wind tunnel with the instructor. He helped us get into the right position, get in and out of the tunnel, manouvre once in there ... one-to-one attention the whole time.

          What to wear?
          ~~~~~~~~~~
          You need to wear comfortable clothes and well-fitting lace-up trainers. Long hair should be tied back and jewellery etc. removed. Included in the price you get use of a flying suit, goggles and helmet (plus earplugs if you want them!).

          What was it like?
          ~~~~~~~~~~~
          Brilliant! I really enjoyed it. My kids were both a bit nervous and needed a fair bit of encouragement but they faced the fear and did something they can be proud of. I was definitely very proud of both of them! All five of us felt exhilarated and left wanting to go back another time. In our flying group there were two guys who had clearly been loads of times - they were flying together, doing amazing acrobatics, and really showing what could be done. As they are interspersed with us on our dvd it does make us look a little less than spectacular, but I think we all did really well for a first attempt.

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            02.06.2009 12:45
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            Would go again!!

            My mum got us a Virgin Experience for AirKix for Christmas as she like to get us doing different things and we all thought what a great pressie. Although the AirKix site was over 2hours away we thought what a great opportunity to have a weekend away.

            We were all very excited about doing the skyydive that i went onto their website http://www.airkix.com/ to find out more about it and what they do. Our tickets were for the Kix Start which is an introduction to sky diving which included a classroom talk, all you kit ( Jumpsuit, goggles and helmet) 2 1 minute flying sessions and a dvd of the class of all of our flights. This was great value as the DVD's were being charged after the sessions for £14.99.

            There are a number of different levels for airfix to suit everyone. The more experience you get the more they teach you and the more time you can book.

            The actual flight was amazing although it was much harder than it looked! You had a 1 minute flight which felt like 10 minutes. The feeling was really strange and the wind was really powerful. When the second flight came round the instructor took you up higher (iwasn't looking forward to this as he was spinning people around aswell which i didn't like the look of. However when it came to my turn it was great! I loved every minute of it and would definatley come back again to have a more advanced go!

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            19.05.2009 18:03
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            Come Fly With Me!

            I've always wanted to try skydiving, but my fiancé was very reluctant to watch me throw myself out of a plane thousands of feet in the air. So instead he bought me an Airkix voucher from www.buyagift.co.uk.

            I'll warn you now, this is quite a long, in depth review! I've edited it and cut it down as much as possible, but I wanted to write about the whole amazing experience, including the negative parts, so please forgive this marathon review!


            What is Airkix?
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            It's an indoor skydiving/flying experience made possible by a vertical wind tunnel, which circulates into a 12-foot flight chamber. It is Europe's first purpose built indoor skydiving tunnel!

            Where is it?
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            Airkix is located in the Xscape centre in Milton Keynes, where there are lots of other activities to do such as skiing, snowboarding (on real snow), bowling, cinema, shopping (sports related shops only like Billabong and Rip Curl with their extortionate prices!) and dining at well known chain restaurants.

            How much does it cost?
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            Well my voucher from Buyagift cost £49 and when my fiancé bought it he got a Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) offer so he was going to have a go too, despite his fear of heights! Included in the cost of this voucher was a DVD of my flying experience.

            You can also buy gift vouchers directly from Airkix and their vouchers expire after 9 months. You can also buy gift vouchers using your Tesco Clubcard Deal tokens.

            There are lots of different packages that you can buy depending on your flying experience and how long you want to fly for.

            +++++++++ Something to bear in mind about buying gift vouchers +++++++++
            The Buyagift vouchers expire after 10 months and unfortunately we didn't manage to book our experience, as by the time I realised the voucher was due to expire they were fully booked. If your voucher hasn't yet expired then you can pay £20 to get it extended for another 10 months. Luckily I managed to get it extended, but I lost out on the BOGOF offer, which didn't really upset my fiancé too much as he wasn't that keen on giving it a go really!

            If you do receive a voucher then I really recommend booking ASAP and don't put it off, as it's very easy to forget about it and for the voucher to expire. Once it has expired then you CANNOT extend it! This happened to my brother with a voucher his friend bought him and I don't think he's told her yet!

            How do I book?
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            You can telephone Airkix or buy online. If you have a gift voucher then it's easy to redeem your voucher and book your place online. You can check availability and book quite far in advance which is good.

            Once you have selected the date you want to fly, you then specify what time you want to fly. You have to bear in mind that you have to be at the Airkix reception 1 hour before your flight time in order to go through the checking-in process, which includes completing a Statement of Risk. This includes confirming you meet the following flight conditions:
            1. Does not exceed 18 stone (252lbs or 114kg) in body weight
            2. Is over 4 years of age
            3. Is not pregnant
            4. Has not previously suffered from a dislocated shoulder
            5. Is not under the influence of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs
            6. Is not wearing a hard plaster cast


            I Believe I Can Fly, I Believe I Can Touch The Sky
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            Being able to do so much online made it all seem to be really well organized and I had a lot of confidence that the Airkix experience was going to be brilliant. This feeling faltered somewhat after I completed my Statement of Risk and I handed my voucher to one of the girls behind the reception desk. She took my voucher and then she started talking to her friends as she tried to arrange going out that evening. She then walked off to the other end of the reception desk without explaining to me what she was doing and carried on talking to her friends, leaving me standing there like a complete lemon! Now I'm a very placid person and I never complain, but I do expect a certain level of customer service, so when a male member of staff asked if I needed any help, I couldn't help but say rather loudly "Well that girl has taken my voucher and gone off and I don't know what she's doing with it!" The girl must have heard me as she promptly came back to stamp my hand with ink which read 'Kix Start' to inform the instructor that I would be in the right group. She then said I needed to be by the benches at 5.15pm as my flight time was at 6pm. She didn't explain where the benches were, so I had to ask, and I was left feeling a lot less looked after than I had expected and I just hoped that the instructors would be a lot more caring!


            Are You Ready To Fly?
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            Well we'd arrived early at the Xscape center about 3pm because we wanted to look around and also because we'd totally misjudged the distance from our hotel (that's another review!) due to the scale on the map I'd downloaded from the Airkix website.

            We killed some time looking around the center (that's also another review!) and then we went to the Airkix viewing gallery where we watched other people doing their flights. This was great to get a better idea of what I'd be doing and so my excitement was building up as we watched the instructor take the participants up really high into the tunnel!

            At 5.15pm I went down to the benches but no one else was sitting there. We peeked through the glass in the door of the Flight Training Room and saw a whole group of people sitting there listening to an instructor, so I was really worried I'd missed my training session! My lovely fiancé went in and asked if they were missing someone and the instructor said no, so I felt better and then lots more people came and sat on the benches. Phew!


            Come Fly With Me, Lets Fly Lets Fly Away
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            At about 5.30pm an instructor appeared and I recognized him as the one I'd been watching earlier in the tunnel so I thought that was good as he seemed to give his participants a really good flight. He announced our names to go into the Flight Training Room, but because he was French was a very heavy accent, we couldn't really understand him! My fiancé thought he said that family members could go into the Flight Training Room and because he saw quite a mature looking man go in with his adult children, he thought he was a family member and not likely to be skydiving himself! So my fiancé came in and sat down and watched the short training video and looked as puzzled as the rest of us as we tried to understand what the French instructor was trying to say! Luckily most of the training was about what the different hand signals meant ('keep head up', 'bend legs' or 'straighten legs' and 'Get me out of here!') so it wasn't too bad. We had to stand up and assume the flying position, which is a lot easier than when you get into the tunnel!


            Pretty Fly For A White Guy
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            After the training we actually got a different instructor, because the French one was needed for another group as there was a Spanish participant who couldn't understand English, so the French instructor being multilingual took on that group instead. Our new instructor was called Paul and he was really great. He kitted us out with flight suits, padding, goggles, earplugs and helmets. When we were in the viewing gallery watching other people flying we saw quite a few people had funny soft toys stuck to the top of their helmets which looked hilarious when their little arms waved erratically about in the wind! So I was quite chuffed I managed to get a helmet with a little meerkat on the top, as it would help distinguish me from the rest of the group and make it easier to spot myself when looking through the photos and the DVD.


            Highway To the Dangerzone
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            We were then led to the flight tunnel, which is the same way you get to the viewing gallery. There were loads of people in there taking photos of their friends and family, but there were also just people who wanted to see what it was like.

            I think there were 10 people in my group and we sat on the bench around the tunnel and waited for our turn to enter the tunnel. The order is from left to right, so if you don't want to go first then make sure you sit on the far right! Luckily I didn't go first as I wanted to watch someone else do it first, to see if I could pick up some tips. But I was also really excited by then and wanted to jump in and I was third in line so I didn't have to wait long.


            Learn To Fly
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            You have to stand in the entrance of the tunnel, with your arms folded across your chest and then you lean into the tunnel. The first time I did it I got that feeling of adrenaline mixed with panic, like when someone tells you to fall backwards and they promise to catch you. But the instructor does catch you and then maneuvers you about so that you're lying horizontally. He then does hand signals to tell you how to change your body position so that you go higher and have a better flight. The whole experience is amazing and you get such a rush from floating in the air!


            Flying Without Wings
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            With my flight package I got 2 flights that last for 1 minute each, which is about the same as three tandem skydives. With the airflow at 100+mph it takes a lot of concentration to remember to keep your head up, keep your legs apart and to hold your arms in the correct position. 1 minute flies past (excuse the pun!) really quickly and as soon as you feel comfortable flying your time's up and the instructor moves you out of the tunnel via the exit door. You then sit on the end of the bench and everyone moves up the line. It's quite good to have a little break between each flight so you can recover! My back actually hurt a little bit from the first flight because it's difficult to hold the correct posture whilst being blasted by ferocious winds! The mature gentleman that I spoke of earlier actually cut his flight short, as the experience was too much for him, so his children took his turns as they had bought a Family Flight package. Airkix say they fly people aged 5 to 105, so it doesn't really matter how old you are, but I would say that a good level of physical fitness is important if you want to really enjoy the experience.


            I'm Like A Bird
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            My second flight was just as exhilarating as the first and I found I was able to maintain the correct posture more easily, so that I went up a bit higher in the tunnel. I think this must have caused me to panic a little bit, so my posture changed and I fell down! Luckily the instructor caught me so I didn't hit the floor of the tunnel too hard, which might have hurt quite a lot as it's like wire fencing.


            Do You Want More?
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            After everyone had done their 2 flights, the instructor offered us the chance to do another flight at the cost of £11 for 1 minute. I have to admit that I was really tempted to have another go as it was so much fun, but I thought I should save my money since I'm unemployed! About 5 people in my group had another go and then the instructor went into the tunnel alone and showed us how the professionals do it! He was basically just showing off, but it was amazing to see what tricks these guys can do. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed my flights, I was a little bit disappointed that our instructor didn't take us up really high into the tunnel like the French one did with his group.


            Get Your Feet Back On The Ground
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            After our flights we took of our flight suits and all the other gear and then we got a flight certificate, which is also a record of how many levels you've achieved. Once you've learnt the few levels of basic bodyflight then you can go onto the more advanced stuff if you decide to do more flying! They have special prices for regular flyers and Airkix gives you such a buzz that if I lived closer then I would be doing it very regularly!


            Money, Money, Money
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            We then went back to reception and whilst I waited for my DVD we looked at the monitors that had the photos of our flights. Whilst you're in the tunnel you're so disorientated that you don't notice the camera flashing! The photos were expensive at £9.99 for a print, but you can download a high-resolution file from the website for £7.99 which can then print to your heart's content.

            The DVD contains the flights of everyone in your group, so it's worth buying if you know everybody in your group! But for individuals £15 is a lot of money for a few minutes of footage, so I'm glad it was included in my gift voucher as it is a great memento. Even though my fiancé took some video footage with my camera, the DVD footage is obviously much better as the angle if from inside the tunnel and there are no reflections off the glass.


            Post Flight Experience:
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            When I got home I found I'd received an email a few hours after completing my flights. It contained a link to the photo gallery where I could purchase photos and it also had a link to a feedback survey. They take comments from these surveys and post them up in the testimonials section on the website and I've read quite a few of these and they do post both the good and bad comments. I completed the survey and I expressed my dissatisfaction regarding the customer service I'd received. Shortly afterwards I received an email from the Chief Exec, thanking me for my feedback and reassuring me that my comments would be looked into. The email was personalized and based on my actual feedback, which I thought was brilliant and has definitely put Airkix back in my good books in terms of customer service and I wouldn't hesitate to go back again!

            http://www.airkix.com
            http://www.buyagift.co.uk/Category/Id/6831/Name/Airkix_Indoor_Skydiving
            http://www.tesco.com/clubcard/deals/product.aspx?R=460

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            • More +
              23.01.2009 23:36
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              Great experience-

              AIRKIX!

              I recently discovered airkix a short while a go when a friend told me about it. The next things i new he had got me tickets to go there!

              The place is situated in Milton Keynes in a huge building called X - scape which does a vast amount of outdoor adventure type things, rock climbing, ski-ing, sky - diving and lots more!

              Its a huge place and is really worth a visit!

              Airkix itself is towards the back of the building next to the ski slope.

              I got there and checked in via a computer and you have to sign a safety agreement and it only takes a few minutes! Hassle free!
              You then get put into your group and novices (like me) get to see a video and have a talk on what you should be doing when you are inside the air tank!

              You then are kitted up and given a final run down by the extremely friendly instructors! You must wear tight lace up shoe and they give you goggles, an ear piece and a very snazzy air suit!! (It looks the part).

              The next things you know you are upstairs absolutely pooping your pants as you do not know what is about to happen! When i went there the people in before were experts, one girl about 10 years old was doing back flips and was making it look easy.

              Then the time came, i entered the tank and wow!! You are floating in mid-air, the instructor is there holding you and giving you the hand signals that tell you what to do! (bend legs, relax etc). It really is a tremendous experience and words cannot really describe it! You really have to experience it for yourself.

              At the end you de-kit and you get a certificate with your accomplishments on!

              You also have the chance to purchase a video of your experience and you also get major discounts if you want to return again!

              Go on give it a go! - Believe in yourself!

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              • More +
                12.07.2007 14:01

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                I was given a voucher for a flight plus video for my birthday at a cost of £55.48. As I live some distance from M/K I kept the voucher until I could get there, only to find there is a time limit on it! They will not eccept it or give a refund. So be WARNED!!

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                05.06.2007 22:15
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                Indoor sky diving experience.

                If you are a bit of a thrill seeker then Milton Keynes actually has quite a bit to offer, there are lakes on which you can water-ski, windsurf and sail, the high speed thrills of either Silverstone, Centerpod or Rockingham are close by and you can also do some skiing or snow boarding at Escape (also known as the Snowdome) the huge entertainment complex that not only boasts a dodgy night club called Oceania (offering thrills of a different kind) but a large snow slope made from the real stuff and not carpet. Now you can also include the chance to do a bit of ski diving without the need to set foot in a plane, in fact the highest you will go is a couple of flights of stairs.

                Airkix is an indoor sky diving experience, watchers of the Apprentice may have seen it when it was of the rewards given to the task winners in one of the earlier episodes, it is basically a hexagonal tube with a mesh wire floor through which a constant stream of air provides the user with sufficient thrust to replicate the feeling of free falling on a sky dive, professional sky divers use it to hone their skills and it is big enough for teams of four to co-ordinate there movements for competitive sky-diving, there is even an indoor world championships for the sport.

                Getting There

                Airkix is located within Escape alongside the snow slopes and is easy to find as you can see the actual building from the M1 and it is well signposted as it is next to the Shopping Centre and Theatre District. There is plenty of parking however do make sure you look our for the colour coded markings as he red zone is a lot more expensive than the purple zone and they are often right next to each other, it works out at about 25p per hour in the purple zone and parking charges apply seven days a week if I remember rightly, it is well signed on the pay machines so check them upon arrival.

                Booking and the packages.

                Airkix is open seven days a week and the times are divided into off peak and peak times with the peak times being more expensive. At weekends it is open from eight in the morning until ten at night and this is peak times throughout the day. During the week the hours are eleven until ten however between the hours of four and nine you will pay peak rates the rest of the time is off peak. During school holidays these times do change and it is advisable to check the website or when booking by phone to see what times apply when you want to fly (they call it flight time when you book and I like to be down with the lingo) either way the opening times are really good and allows them to accommodate a lot of people.

                There are a number of packages available and the prices I will quote are for booking online, if you book by phone or in person it will cost an extra £4. Booking online is easy and once you have decided which package you want the system leads you through the selection of a time and date, remember that you are booking the actual flight time so you will need to arrive an hour before the check in and get the briefing.

                For first time flyers there is a basic one hour flight package, in this you get two 1 minute sessions with an instructor as well as a briefing video and it is intended to teach you the basic in flight position. This costs £39.99 peak and £34.99 off peak, now two minutes may not sound long but for the first time it certainly is however if you want longer then a four minute flight time split over two flights will be £65.99 (£57.99). There are also packages for ten minutes flight time as well as a family package, again check out the website for more details. Once you have done the initial starter package providing you return within three months you do not have to repeat the safety / training briefing then you can purchase flight time at a cheaper rate as you develop your skills as there is a ten point training programme of skills to master, for example a two minute flight costs £29.99 at peak time and you can buy ten minutes for £120.00 which brings the average cost down.

                Now I know this might seem expensive but they reckon a two minute fly time is the equivalent free fall time to three tandem jumps which would cost considerably more, okay the view of a Perspex window might not rival the one as you slowly float to earth but there is no landing to worry about and it is you in control (sort of) rather than someone else.

                Finally there is a way to reduce the cost and that is to make use of your club card vouchers with Tesco. In order to book the starter session and get a DVD of your experience included you can book via the Tesco club card vouchers, the package will cost £54.00 peak and you will need £13 in club card vouchers and a couple of quid on top. This makes it a lot more affordable as a way of trying it out.

                The experience

                Be aware that there is a bit of waiting around. When you check in if you have not done so online you will need to complete a brief medical form confirming you are fit to fly, providing you can wear one of their helmets and meet the medical conditions anyone can fly so it is ideal for children, both my kids have done it and are totally hooked.

                Next you will attend the video briefing which covers how the system works that will provide the lift and your instructor will talk you through what happens and the various hand signals he will use. The most important thing is to get your body position right and there is an opportunity to practice this, the top tip is to try to relax (easier said than done) and to keep your head up and back arched.

                Once this is complete then it is on to the kitting up area, lockers are supplied for all loose valuables and jewellery, you need to make sure your trainers are lace up ones and other than that you should dress comfortably and be aware that the force of the air flow does make it a bit chilly for some people. You are provided with knee and elbow pads and over these you wear a jumpsuit. Moulded ear plugs are optional but I would advise wearing them as it is noisy in the tunnel and all of the instructors wear them. You will then be issued with goggles and a helmet. I was impressed with the focus on safety throughout and after a final couple of words from the instructor you are off up the stairs to the tunnel. There is a small viewing area for colleagues to join you and take pictures and it is worth heading up there a little in advance to get a seat if you are watching.

                Group sizes vary, on Saturday when my daughter did it there were five in total however I have been in with a group of eight, you each have either one of two minutes in rotation before having your second go. The instructor is in there with you and a second instructor controls wind speed and timings.

                So what is it like, well when you first lean forward and let the force of the wind lift you it really takes your breath away and it is hard to breath, you are also encouraged to smile which actually just ensures that you look like a gurning idiot with rubber cheeks, you will know this is the case because those friends and family you bought along to support you will be gleefully pointing and laughing while taking pictures to show you later. The first minute is basically all about trying to get the flight position right, the instructor will be supporting you and pulling legs and arms about and giving you various signals, you will soon realise that even the smallest of movements affects your position and to be honest if you are like me you will be lucky to manage even a few seconds of solo flying however I did find that on the second one minute things started to fall into place and the amount of time I could fly without support improved.

                There is minimal danger involved however you could get the odd bruise from banging into the walls however I have found the instructors to be very fast on their feet and certainly they have the experience to predict when you will lose control and have always grabbed me before I do any damage, in fact looking at the size of some of the people who do it they seem more at risk than the flyers.

                It is a great feeling and I can understand how people get hooked, certainly the kids love it and my son is about to do his third session in July after his birthday. After everyone has had a go then the instructor gets to show off and do some tricks which are pretty spectacular to see the level of control he has.

                Lots of extras are available like buying pictures or having a DVD of your flight, the Tesco club card package has the DVD included and the camera is a fixed position lens and the DVD shows everyone in the group so if there is more than one of you doing it only get the one DVD if you have booked direct. Unfortunately because it is a fixed lens some of the instructors’ tricks are not always visible.

                Overall it is a fun thing to do, you get the experience of free fall without the capital outlay, by no means does it totally replicate a sky dive but it is still a rewarding experience. All of the instructors have been friendly, safety conscious and passionate about sky diving and when in the tunnel they work very hard ensuring that people are safe. It is not cheap however it can be part of a fun day out, there are plenty of good places to eat within Escape as well as the nearby shopping centre in Milton Keynes and after all where else can you sky dive, ski on soft snow and tackle an indoor climbing wall all in the same building.

                For more information and to watch some video of the experience check out www.airkix.com


                Thanks for reading my review.

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              • Product Details

                Indoor skydiving. Ideal for individuals, parties, groups, corporate events, team building and skydiver, bodyflight and bodyflyer.