Friday, April 12, 2024

IFlying with Sarah

The grownups in our family do a white elephant gift exchange at Christmas. We set a price limit, everyone buys one gift, and we take turns choosing (or stealing) gifts until everyone has a present. This year one of the presents was a gift certificate to iFly, an indoor sky diving establishment. Sarah drew that as a present, but then I had an opportunity to steal it from her, which I did.

For various reasons it didn’t work out to be able to go there until recently. I didn’t want to do it by myself, and Lee would rather die, so I asked Sarah and she said of course!

So that’s what we did yesterday. I had apprehensions; I wasn’t sure how it worked but I was afraid that we had to go to the top of a very high tower and step off a platform into a column of air. I thought I would be okay once I was aloft but I wasn’t sure I could do that initial step.

Well it was nothing like that at all! When we got there, we checked in. The girl at the ticket window explained what we got with the two flight package we had scheduled. We would actually be very close to the ground in the wind tunnel, and an instructor would be holding on to us so we wouldn’t fly away. 

We could also purchase an extra option called a “high flight” where the instructor would take us on an up and down flight pattern in the wind tunnel. It sounded like fun so we went for it.

We were a little early so we could sit in the viewing area and watch the people before us. They were amazing, doing all sorts of tricks in the wind tunnel and going in tandem, doing somersaults, holding hands back-to-back, flying on their backs and their fronts, and seated, like they were in a chair. We were impressed. We agreed they must be very experienced!

Then it was our turn. There were supposed to be another 5 people in our group but they never showed up so it was just Sarah and me. First we got fitted in our flight suits, our goggles, and our helmets. We wore a silk cap underneath our helmets so no stray hair flew out, and ear plugs as well, because the wind tunnel is loud. And I got a glove to wear on my left hand because its difficult to take off my wedding ring and we aren’t supposed to wear any jewelry because if it hits the glass exterior in the wind tunnel it could actually shatter it!

Then we watched a short video that explained what we would do and the hand signals that the instructor would use to communicate with us. Basically we would fly on our stomachs. We needed to keep our chins up, our elbows out and bent, our legs extended and our knees somewhat bent. How our arms and legs and head were pointed affected how we flew. Oh yes and we were also supposed to smile, and relax!

We each got two flights of about a minute each. It doesn’t sound very long, but it’s actually kind of strenuous to hold your body correctly while you’re flying, even with the instructor helping you. A minute was plenty of time!

At the end of the first flight we did the high flight. Wheeeee! With two instructors helping us we went up and down in a circle in the wind tunnel. UP up up and DOWN down down and AROUND around around! It was way fun and made me a little dizzy!

To get out of the wind tunnel the instructor guides you over to the door, you grab the door frame and use an exaggerated movement of lifting your knees to step out of the tunnel.

It wasn’t at all scary, just took a fair amount of exertion. It reminded me a little of Pilates, and Sarah agreed. After the second flight they said we did great and we could do one more flight if we wanted for another $20 but we were both done. It hurt my back a little, probably because my core isn’t as strong as it should be. 

We both enjoyed it, and kids can do it, so when the boys are a little older this would be a really fun birthday party. I’m one and done though. Unlike zip lining, which I would certainly do again if the opportunity presented itself, this is more of a learned skill. Those people doing the fancy tricks that were in the tunnel before us? Well they were real sky divers, practicing their moves. 

Afterwards we went out for sushi and got ourselves a glass of a nice Sauvignon Blanc. We had earned it!

ifly has facilities all over the country so it this intrigues you there is probably one somewhere near you. It’s not cheap though, but maybe if you’re lucky you can win a gift certificate to one in a white elephant gift exchange!

Thanks to Suzanne Herberg for coming up with such a unique and fun gift idea!

We didn’t purchase pictures but of course you could.


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