Natalie’s breathtaking adventure

IT really did take my breath away! Experiencing the Airkix Indoor Skydive is probably one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done in my life.

Granted, I’m not much of an adrenaline junkie, but I have swam with dolphins and sharks and been daft enough to go on one of those slingshot bungee things.

Reporter Natalie Geraghty in full flight at Manchester's airkix indoor skydiving facility

Reporter Natalie Geraghty in full flight at Manchester's airkix indoor skydiving facility

But my latest spine-tingling adventure was right up there with them at the top of the list.

The one-year-old Manchester facility, right next to the Trafford Centre and Chill Factore, is where I spent an hour learning how to fly with trainer Herbie Loureiro and general manager John Rogers.

Everyone that flies with Airkix has a comprehensive safety briefing before they take to the wind tunnel.

A video demonstrating how to fly and the correct safety measures and hand signals is played before a dedicated tutor talks everyone through any concerns and shows you how to maintain the right flying position.

I won’t lie, I felt a little nervous ... well maybe a lot.

The old biting of the lip started and the twisting of the engagement ring began.

I knew that nothing was going to happen to me, but I did have visions of me crashing into the glass dome making for a classic You’ve Been Framed moment.

“Nerves are good, that means you will do it right. If you get close to the glass you just gently push yourself away.

“The most important things to remember are to keep your body arched and keep your chin up,” Herbie reassured me.

I was then kitted out in a red and blue skydiving suit complete with goggles and a helmet.

It can be very loud in the 30ft wind tunnel, so I wore earplugs but was able to communicate with Herbie very easily.

As the Brazilian expert led me forward, spectators took their seats eager to watch my momentous minute as a skydiver.

Herbie mouthed: “Take a deep breath, relax and just fall forward, I’ll be there watching you all the time.

“Enjoy it, it’s a great experience and remember, smiles all round.”

From the moment I fell forward onto the wind, I understood exactly why skydivers continue to jump time and time again.

It is an amazing feeling.

During my first attempt, I was a little panicky, which made me float up and down a little too much, but Herbie was always there to keep me calm and talk me through the right position I needed to stick to.

Once I had mastered it, it felt fantastic.

An Airkix staff member operates the wind that can rise to 110 miles per hour and is on hand to capture your grin with pictures and a video.

I flew for two minutes and at the end of it had a thirst for the real thing.

An actual skydive from 12,500 feet only lasts around 40 seconds, so while two minutes at Airkix may not seem very long, believe me it is.

Upon departing the wind tunnel, my hair had knotted itself in every way possible, I had goggle lines all around my eyes and my cheek was graced with, how should I put it ... spit!

So, a word of advice when flying at Airkix, girls, tie your hair up tight and when grinning, remember to keep your lips closed so as not to let those salivating juices seep out.

I would go back to Airkix any day, at anytime, and I thoroughly recommend it.

To have a facility as exciting as this on the doorstep of Wigan means the opportunity to fly is too good to miss.

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