Free-Falling from a Helicopter at 10,000 Feet Over Ago Bay with the Ise-Shima Skydiving Club

Free-Falling from a Helicopter at 10,000 Feet Over Ago Bay with the Ise-Shima Skydiving Club

The rias coast in the Ise-Shima area of Mie Prefecture offers incredibly beautiful views with numerous islands of various sizes and deep inlets such as Ago Bay. Truly adventurous visitors can get a bird’s eye view of this natural beauty from 10,000 feet in the air. The Ise-Shima Skydiving Club takes thrill seekers high into the blue sky via helicopter so they can jump out and feel the rush of an electrifying free fall with an experienced instructor. Once the chute is deployed, visitors are treated to the vistas from an optimal vantage point as they make their smooth descent back to earth.

Written by Vern Begg
About the Author:
I believe travel is an opportunity to feed your soul and I will never stop exploring our amazing planet. Originally from Canada, I now live in Osaka with my family and have learned that Japan is an incredible place for discovering new experiences.

When I decided to go skydiving this time, I knew it would be an unforgettable experience. However, nothing could have truly prepared me for what I signed up to do at Taso Shirahama Beach in Ise-Shima on a perfect blue-sky day. The Ise-Shima Skydiving Club was about to change the way I looked at the world by taking me up 10,000 feet in the air and letting me jump out of a helicopter.

Caption: Taso Shirahama Beach has adventure experiences and places to eat.

One of the reasons I chose this experience was that the Ise-Shima Skydiving Club is one of the few heli-skydiving operators on the planet. This unique feature of the jump was something that intrigued me because I had never even been in a helicopter before, let alone jumped out of one. The other was  main beautiful islands that make up this incredible part of the Mie coastline.

Caption: The helicopter was ready and waiting on the helipad. 

As I drove up to the beach, the first thing I noticed was the helicopter sitting on the helipad. Knowing that I was going to be sitting in that helicopter and ascending to my jump point in less than an hour got my heart racing and my blood pumping. I took a deep breath and went into the main building to meet my instructor.

Caption: The Ise-Shima Skydiving Club has two experienced English-speaking instructors. 

The man I would be strapped to and free falling with at 250 km/h was Rhys Brady, an affable Kiwi who has been around skydiving all his life as he followed his father’s footsteps into the profession. With 14 years of experience and over 300 jumps on his resume, I knew Rhys would be able to make my first skydiving experience safe and fun.

Caption: Rhys made my first skydiving experience fun and exciting.

After a quick chat to break the ice, the first step was to sign the standard waiver form for these kinds of activities.

Next, Rhys asked me to sit down and get comfy on a small sofa in the skydiving center to watch a 3-minute video showing a sped-up version of a standard jump. 

Seeing the video just made me more excited about flying over Ago Bay and feeling the rush of my first free-fall. 

We moved over to the pre-jump prep area and I was given a jumpsuit to put on before Rhys fitted me with the harness that would eventually keep us connected to each other in the air.

He expertly led me through each step with clear instructions and explanations about all of the measures that were in place to ensure our safety. 

My 4-point harness weighed about 3 kg and Rhys’ pack with the main and reserve parachutes weighed a total of 25 kg.

Caption: The simple pre-flight training was clear and easy to understand.

The entire time needed for the introductions, presentation, explanations and getting geared up was less than 30 minutes and then it was time to go climb into the helicopter. I had been so engaged in the preparation and chatting with Rhys, that my nerves hadn’t gotten the better of me. When he said it was time to fly, the reality of it all hit me and my heart started racing. Thankfully, there wasn’t any time to dwell on it and the next thing I knew we were walking to the helipad.

Caption: I was feeling excited and nervous as I walked to the helicopter. 

Sitting on the helipad, the helicopter looked amazing with the backdrop of Ago Bay and lush green islands in the distance. Rhys and I climbed in and sat down on the back seat as the pilot started the blades above us. Within seconds, we lifted off and were zooming away from Taso Shirahama into the wide-open blue skies above the water.

From the very start of the flight the views on all sides were amazing and it was a thrill just being in the helicopter.

After flying for about seven minutes, we reached an altitude of 5,000 feet and Rhys instructed me to get on his lap so he could secure himself to my harness. 

It was almost time to make the jump and I was feeling a mix of excitement and nerves. 

Rhys talked to me the entire time and kept me at ease with jokes and his confident attitude. Once the harness was fully secured, he helped me put on my goggles.

At 9,000 feet, Rhys told me we were about a minute from our jump altitude and he kept me focused with more positive banter to keep the mood light.
He slid the door open and I took my first look out of the open door at the incredible view. 
It was like nothing I had ever seen before and the islands and land formations of Ago Bay were truly gorgeous. 

Caption: It was intense when Rhys slid open the helicopter door at 9,000 feet.

When we reached 10,000 feet, I grabbed my harness with both hands as instructed and put my legs between Rhys’ as we turned to face the open door of the helicopter. 

When he asked if I was ready to jump, I quickly yelled “LET’S GO!” and we were out the door and free-falling. 

It was a 30-second free-fall, but it felt longer and the rush of flying at a speed reaching around 250 km/h was amazing. It really is something you have to experience to understand.

Caption: The free-fall was an unforgettable rush that everyone should experience.

The free-fall ended when Rhys pulled the main chute and then we were floating comfortably over one of the most beautiful spots on earth. 

The blend of uniquely shaped islands, wide-open ocean and picturesque coastline was breathtaking and we were in the air for around 4-5 minutes as we descended. 

The landing point was on the white sand of Taso Shirahama Beach and we came in softly as we touched down. Rhys disconnected the harness and I revelled in the natural high that was still pumping through me.

Caption: The landing area was on the white sand of Taso Shirahama Beach.

Tourist attractions covered by this article