S'porean, 31, rejected events career to pursue 'dream job' as indoor skydiving instructor

He also found his wife at his unconventional workplace.

Fasiha Nazren | September 19, 2021, 11:44 AM

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For a lot of people, skydiving is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

For Jordon Chan, 31, the extreme sport is almost an everyday affair.

But that's hardly surprising, since Chan is a flight instructor at Singapore's only indoor skydiving facility, iFly Singapore.

Photo courtesy of Jordon Chan.

Rejected career in events industry

    Chan has always wanted a career in sports, despite graduating with a double degree in marketing and tourism.

    Instead of going into the more conventional route, the daredevil rejected a career in the events industry to jump at the opportunity to work at iFly instead.

    Photo courtesy of Jordon Chan.

    To this day, he never regrets going off the beaten track and even considers it a "dream job".

    "Especially after getting better at flying and teaching, it's definitely a dream job for me. That's what our guests tell us everyday, we have the dream job."

    Intense physical training

    His job is to mainly guide flyers of various levels, from experienced ones to first-timers, on the sport of indoor skydiving.

    But being a flight instructor isn't as easy as it sounds.

    Prior to becoming a full-fledged flight instructor, he had to go through up to four weeks of intense training, consisting of physical and theory courses.

    As part of the theory training, he had to memorise a lot of things, including the various hand signals and safety points.

    This, however, was easier than the obstacles that were thrown at him (both literally and figuratively) as part of the physical training he had to complete in the wind tunnel.

    Recounting the experience, he said, "We had to catch our trainers in the tunnel because part of the training includes simulating all the 'what-if' situations that may arise in the tunnel."

    Apart from simulations, instructors also have to make sure that they're at the peak of their fitness level.

    Part of the training includes running, pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups.

    Experience in Commandos helped a little

    He did add that his experience serving his national service with the Commandos did help him during his training days.

    For one, the first time he skydived was when he was a man in a red beret.

    "In NS, we were trained to have a strong mindset and endurance, so all these values that I got from NS helped me through my training and day-to-day operations."

    But even a Commando has his off days. Chan revealed that he didn't pass his flight instructor test the first time around.

    He reasoned: "[During my training days,] there was a haze so the running course was tough."

    Help people gain courage to fly

    With six years as a flight instructor under his belt, Chan has met many different characters at iFly.

    "There will be people who are very excited at first but when they're at the door, that can easily turn into fear. That's why we have our jobs to ensure that they are safe and comfortable with us," he said.

    Photo courtesy of Jordon Chan.

    But the most memorable guest he has ever had was a scared little girl from Taiwan.

    Chan shared that he had just ended a class when he saw from the corner of his eye, crying all alone.

    As someone who dotes on children, he gently talked to the girl and managed to convince her to give flying a try.

    "She was on the verge of tears while her family was flying inside the tunnel. I cajoled her for a long time before I managed to convince her to fly. It's always heartening to help people overcome their fear," he said.

    Love at first flight?

    And it seems like she wasn't the only girl that had a good impression of Chan.

    It is also at iFly where he met the love of his life.

    "It's all thanks to my Chinese speaking skills," he quipped after having a laugh.

    According to Chan, he met his wife when she was working at iFly's bistro.

    "I just went up to her and found out that she's more comfortable speaking Chinese. From there, we could talk just about anything under the sky," he said.

    And of course, one of the dates had to happen in the wind tunnel where Chan brought her flying for the first time.

    Photo courtesy of Jordon Chan.

    This begs the question: Was she impressed by his flying skills?

    He chuckled and said: "I would choose to believe so!"

    Although he clarified that this wasn't a case of love at first sight, they found their happily ever after in each other.

    After three years of dating, the couple got married and have a two-year-old son together.

    So will their child be following in his footsteps and do some somersaults in the tunnel soon?

    "Definitely, I want to let him try it out. Maybe five more years down the road and we'll see then?"

    Top image courtesy of Jordon Chan.

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