The CybAirDay 2017 which took place at Indoor Skydive Bottrop was another step to open the doors of skydiving for persons with disabilities and to place our sport more into the middle of our society. The event was organized by the handicap skydiver Claudia Breidbach with support from her 4way team KARMA together with the German NGO “Anfpfiff ins Leben” which helps people with disabilities to get ”back on track” and Indoor Skydive Bottrop.
In front of the event also the participants had to sign a medical before they enter the wind tunnel. Despite the fact that the wind tunnel is a safe environment some diseases like epilepsy, paraplegic (down from the neck) and a few others can exclude persons from entering the wind tunnel. But disabilities like a lost leg by accident or a missing arm since birth are no reasons to not enter a wind tunnel. Even persons in a wheel chair can handle their self in the wind tunnel with the normal starting support from the instructors by their own when they have full control of their body up from the hipps. In this case only have the legs are fixed with tape. Very simple. The rest is done with the upper body.
But most of the times the only barrier is that persons with a handicap do not believe that they can do the job and refuses before they even give it a shot. They are afraid to fail. This was the reasons that in front of the event it was kind hard to find participants to face that challenge. A very uncommon experience. When tunnel time is offered for free every skydiver would sign up immediately. Not in this case. At the end 13 pioneers signed up for the event and took the challenges to prove what is possible. The range was from 10 years up to 60 years and all with physical handicap. Some flew with prosthesis others without. Some did very well others struggled a little bit more. So there was no difference to non handicap persons. Another idea was that specially people with a disability get a push for their self-esteem when they master successfully the flight in a wind tunnel and prove themselves what they are capable of.
Another important side effect of the CybAirDay 2017 also was to bring skydiving more towards into the middle of our society as a sport that everybody can enter with only a few exceptions as mentioned before. Our sport needs more positive impulses far away from the thrilling and impressive pictures of BASE jumping which only is an activity for a chosen few highly experienced people. Unfortunately it takes the most of the media attention for of our sport. Especially all the nationals that held in all the skydiving countries deserves more spectators form outside the sport with the side effect that more money comes into our sport and it gets even more professional.
So the CybAbirDay was only one small puzzle part to move towards to that direction and will be held again 2018 even bigger
On top NTI, the biggest NGO in the USA which brings people with disabilities back into work, made an interview with Claudia Breidbach and her 4way team KARMA. Mike Sanders form NTI wanted to know how a team in this high speed sport can work successfully together and which challenges the team had to overcome in the beginning.
At least we like to thank Boris Nebe form Indoor Skydive Bottrop and Diana Schütz from the German NGO “Anpfiff ins Leben” to support this event with all their passion.
See you in 2018!