Weekend in flight

Recently I got qualified to fly, no I didn’t become a pilor but much simpler. I did the indoor skydiving session at Sentosa last weekend. My brother wanted to gift me a skydiving session for my birthday. Living in New Zealand, he is not very aware of aviation restrictions in Singapore and had to end up with indoor skydiving gift.

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The way iFLY works is you are given a short video introduction to skydiving followed by a practice session on your posture. Then after just SUIT UP and FLY (for 90 seconds). A trainer is always by your side adjusting your position.

A real sky diving experience is simulated within the tunnel but varying the speed of air blown in, making it seem like a change in altitude. What caught my attention most was a section on teaching physics through sky diving. Amidst all the butterflies in my stomach, I was fascinated to see videos of teachers bringing students for a sky diving session. This not only seemed fun but I did not expect to hear science on a weekend out in Sentosa. A quick internet search revealed the physics behind skydiving. The eagle posture that we were asked to adopt was to increase the surface area to optimize the gravity and air resistance. During my session there was also a professional doing his weekly practice. He played around with his posture (chair position, head down), thereby changing his surface area to dictate the way he fell at any given air speed. Those were pretty impressive stunts he performed

In all those years of drawing free body diagrams for physics tests, I never once thought of skydiving. This experience has rekindled my interest in physics (one of my pet peeves). Although the indoor experience did not give that Adrenaline rush, I hope to skydive in the open air sometime.

If you are wondering if I processed all this science while in the chamber, how could I with air blowing into my face like this?

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