It has been 10 years since I first started experimenting with creating skydive related educational videos. Back in 2006, the internet was a very different place. As connection/download speeds started to improve, and online videos become more prevalent, new platforms of communication started to emerge. One of these was called Expert Village; a site I was introduced to by a friend and co-worker of mine, Patrick Eaves of WingEnvy Paragliding.
At that time, there were only two vertical wind tunnel in the US: Orlando Florida and Perris California. Other wind tunnel designs, like flyaway in Las Vegas were available, but they did not offer the clean, wall-to-wall air flow that the newer Skyventure designs provided. This is what set Skyventure tunnels apart from their competitors, and is what made these tunnels so desirable to skydivers. They better replicated the feel of free fall, and skydivers were able to train with their personal equipment (jumps suits, helmets, and in some cases rigs if covered by a sleeve).
From 2005 – 2007 I was a full time tunnel instructor (IBA certified) and coach at the Perris Skyventure wind tunnel. During the time, many of the worlds best coaches would visit the Perris drop zone and tunnel to hold skills camps and organize events. This was the time and place to be if your goal was to train hard and learn a lot. I was fortunate enough to be able to fly with some of the most respected names in every discipline, and watch them coach for hours each day at close proximity. I quickly realized that each coach had their own personality, values, and way of teaching. I observed not only what they taught, but also how they connected with their students.
Personally, I am a very analytical person and like to pick concepts apart mentally, make predictions, and then test ideas practically. This has always driven my training and coaching style. The online tutorials presented an opportunity to not only market my services, but also forced me to think more critically about the information I was sharing. These early videos were low budget and shot in one afternoon without a real script to speak of. The idea was to make people aware of the newly arising discipline (tunnel flying), and to let people know that professional coaching was available.
Looking back at the 10 year old footage, I have to say that I still agree with most of the information that is being presented. It encapsulated my working knowledge, and what was taught during that time. However, my coaching process has evolved substantially over the years.
I am still actively engaged in creating online content such as tutorials and instructional videos on the AXIS Flight School YouTube channel, as well as through USPA’s monthly printed publication Parachutist.
Foundations of Flight is a monthly column that AXIS contributes to USPA Parachutist magazine. These how-to videos and articles are not just limited to free fall skills, but have been expanded on to also include canopy skills and much more.
Of course none of the tutorials have ever meant to be a substitute for professional coaching. They are meant to spark curiosity and provide some insight to a training method to jumpers who do not have access to professional coaching. They serve as an educational guideline and a small glimpse into what is out there.
In 2010, AXIS moved its head quarters to Skydive Arizona, which is the perfect training ground for skydivers who want to sharpen their skills and learn at an accelerated pace. This is because the drop zone has great jumping weather year round, a massive fleet of aircraft, and a wind tunnel that is located on the drop zone. For more information about coaching or AXIS Flight School, contact us at Info[at]AXISFlightSchool.com