Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Paul Mayer, another wind tunnel pioneer from the UK, is confirmed as panelist at Indoor Skydiving 2020 | First Global Summit by FAI. He will be on the panels of Session III and Session IV. But given his background and experience, he could make valuable contributions to every session on the schedule.
We sent a message to Paul a few weeks ago.
"Given your vast experience as well as your independence, you stand to be able to make key contributions to the outcome of the summit. It is for this reason that we extend an invitation for you to join us at ISGS in February 2020. As we do with the other panelists, we will cover your airfare (economy), local transport and full-board accommodation."
Today Paul confirmed that he will be at Indoor Skydiving 2020 | First Global Summit by FAI. To give you an idea about his background, allow us to describe his life prior to becoming the owner/operator of Twinwoods Adventures.
In his early professional life, Paul Mayer was a successful software developer, well remunerated and challenged accordingly, working almost 24/7 on complex IT systems for high-profile clients such as the international news organization Reuters.
Actively looking for a different pursuit after 15 years on the job, he was convinced that whatever business he would end up in had to revolve around computers too. He was a self-confessed geek, after all.
That was until he traveled to Orlando, USA, with a friend and tried skydiving for the first time. Outdoors as well as indoors! The experience at the SkyVenture tunnel had him raving: "Suddenly I could see that this made you feel that you were flying like a bird, and you could do it not just for 60 seconds, like you do in the real thing, but for as long as you were prepared to pay for."
Upon his return, he was very surprised to find out that no recreational facility existed for him to fly like a bird in the UK. And he was even more surprised when he discovered that a wind tunnel built in the 1950s for aerodynamic research by the military had practically been abandoned in Bedford.
From there it was a matter of considering his options, fine-tuning a concept, drafting the business plan and raising the capital: £1.5 million. He entered into a long-term lease agreement and adapted the facility to a more civilian/recreational purpose. Bodyflight Bedford powered up the props to ventilate the world’s only flight chamber with a 16-foot diameter in September 2005.
Only a few months later, in April 2006, Paul held the first international competition on his premises, the Bodyflight Bedford World Challenge. It developed into the longest-running and the biggest indoor skydiving of the annual calendar.
In 2008 Paul set up Tunnel Instructor with Alberto Fuertes and Brendan O'Rafferty, who at the time were part of the team at Bedford. The organization was to establish safety standards, share knowledge and provide a framework which could assist other operators in the industry. Over the following years the standards and training materials from Tunnel Instructor have been adopted by many tunnels worldwide.
After 15 years in the tunnel business, Paul sold Bodyflight Bedford in 2018.