Working as an indoor skydiving instructor can be an immensely rewarding opportunity to engage with many people by facilitating for them with a unique and exciting experience. With the correct attitude and work ethic, it can also open doors to amazing adventures in both the wind tunnel flying and outdoor skydiving world.
But how does becoming an indoor skydiving instructor work?
There are two main organizations that manage the ratings of tunnel instructors — the International Bodyflight Association (IBA) and Tunnel Instructor. With the indoor skydiving industry expanding internationally, the boundaries between the two are becoming more blurred. But traditionally, the IBA has been the system of the USA and Tunnel Instructor that of Europe.
While there are some differences between these two training systems, they are basically constructed from the same raw materials and provide checks and balances for instructor regulations within the industry. On paper, these are closed systems through whose levels you must progress separately. But in the real world, nothing is stopping you from moving between them as what is truly important are your skills and your attitude.
A suitably experienced examiner will assess you and be able to tell in minutes the level of skill you’d bring as an instructor. Tunnel Instructor has a more modular approach, which can be good for the paying part but can leave people with technically employable qualifications in favor of more comprehensively trained individuals. The IBA trains people more thoroughly from the outset but requires a greater commitment upfront — paying a bunch of money or signing a job contract (usually for a couple of years).
The indoor skydiving instructor course consists of several weeks of daily work both inside and outside the flight chamber. Almost all of this is safety procedures and instructional technique for the instructor’s primary role, which is introducing the general public to the sensation of bodyflight for the first time.
If time allows, most examiners will try their best to add some further training for more advanced drills and even progress newbies though some flying skills, but realistically you can expect to learn on the job from your more experienced work colleagues. The training can be tough as at this point you will not be used to the environment. You don’t need to be in mega shape, but you will be expected to pass a fitness test to begin the training.
An important part of the job is controlling the tunnel. Flyers of all skill levels frequently need different wind speeds for training purposes. While there are some people who work this job without being a tunnel instructor — sometimes as a way into the job — it is highly likely that the person driving the tunnel is a qualified instructor also. An attentive tunnel controller makes the job of the instructor much easier by being on the ball and providing the correct wind at a moment’s notice.
Instructing well, properly looking after the general public, and even flying skills are all factors that contribute to your overall value as an instructor, but nothing is as important as your ability to work closely and supportively with others. Instructor teams are small and must work together to keep everything running smoothly. You might be the best flyer for a thousand miles in every direction, but if you make things more difficult for your colleagues rather than easier it’s not going to work.
Working as an indoor skydiving instructor can be an amazing role to have in a growing global scene. There are now tunnels all over the world and the industry is only getting more exciting. Indoor bodyflight is connected to skydiving in many ways but has now become a sport in its own right and the future is a bright one.
It can be physically demanding for modest pay, but the reward and opportunities it presents if approached properly can be significant. Also, working with the general public can be a richly satisfying experience as you help people overcome any anxiety they have about what they have signed up for. First, you show them they can indeed fly, then at the end, you get to show off a bit and have them marvel at your ninja skills. You get to be a hero every single day, like our instructors at Paraclete XP are.
If you are interested in becoming an instructor, or in booking a wind tunnel session, contact us today and let us know.