The Saturday a fortnight ago was special. We had just moved into our new apartment for two days, workmen were still fixing up stuff here and there, and I scooted off to Sentosa because iFly was doing a never-before (and likely never again) schedule of real tandem skydives over the island, and I had been invited to jump out of a helicopter as the passenger of a tandem instructor with 6,000 jumps under his belt.
It was the most exhilarating experience anyone could possibly have over Sentosa or over Singapore for that matter. I mean, who gets to take a break from unpacking boxes of household effects by jumping out of a helicopter from 10,000 feet? For that, I have to thank Lawrence Koh of iFly for planning and convincing what must’ve been 20 odd government agencies like the Civil Aviation Authority, NEA, STB, MDA (make sure Miyagi doesn’t say “fucking cheebye” when he jumps or else we will have to censor him) to allow for such an historic event.
Mr Ashley Smith, my tandem instructor from Darwin, was a great pair-up for keeping me relaxed and not overloaded with repetitive instructions. For 45 seconds of freefall and the ensuing dunnohowmany minutes of parachuting down to Palawan Beach I had the best view of Singapore and the Riau Islands. Landing on Palawan also meant I could strip off my gear and run to the carpark to rush home to unpack some more before Naomi got too upset at my little ‘chute break.
Helicopter, or fixed wing aircraft jumps for that matter are hard to come by in Singapore, unless you’re an airborne trooper in the Army. Even then you’re looking at jumping overseas. So for a fraction of the price and time, you can still experience the thrill of flying at iFly’s world’s biggest vertical wind tunnel at Sentosa. I did it once last year, and strongly recommend everyone give it a go. You may like it enough to make it a regular sport and compete like the flyers did at the World Championships last fortnight.