Tuesday, March 29, 2016

iFLY Indoor Skydiving Review

I am usually not the daredevil type but years ago when I learned about indoor skydiving, I knew it was something I wanted to try. It was not until recently that they opened a location nearby so I was able to try it out. The location was part of iFLY which now has many locations around the US and around the world.

We booked our appointment a couple weeks in advance since it is very popular and the openings tend to fill up fast. The website is well organized and you can book your time online and fill out the waiver without having to print anything out. The website is also very informative and gives you a good understanding of what to expect when you get there.

When we arrived, there was some confusion on the scheduled fight time, but they were accommodating and able to fit us in at the time we scheduled. After we checked in, we went up to see the wind tunnel. It was very impressive! You get a preview of what it will be like as other groups are in the tunnel taking turns flying.

I was surprised how far down and how high up the tunnel actually goes. There is a strong net at the ground level, but the tunnel goes down much further. I started getting a little nervous especially seeing how high some of the other people were going!

After watching the other groups for a while, it was time for the training session. For this we watched a quick video that explained the basics and what to expect during the experience. We met our instructor who gave us some more tips and signals that will be used in the wind tunnel.

Next we went to get our suits, helmets, goggles, and ear plugs. It was pretty easy. The first suit and helmet they gave me fit perfectly. They also had lockers there to put your stuff since they do not recommend carrying anything in pockets.

Next it was time for our group to go to the wind tunnel! We filed in one by one in the waiting section which is around the outside of the main tunnel. Each person in our group went in with the instructor for about 1 minute of flight. The instructor is there to help stabilize you and keep you level and center.

I was a little nervous but at the same time, there was not much to be nervous about because there is not much you have to do. You just have to put yourself out there and try to stay in the flight position. When it was my turn, I just went for it. It was about as windy as expected. It was also a little noisy, but the ear plugs and helmet definitely help with that.

In flight, it is pretty intense! I remember thinking, I have no idea if I am doing a good job or not. At first I was a bit unstable but soon you are able to get the hang of it and it becomes more smooth. After a minute, the instructor leads you to the exit door so you can pull yourself back to the waiting area.

They give a 2nd turn to fly and in the 2nd one, we got to go up much higher with the instructor. In the first one you are about 5 feet off the ground but in the 2nd flight, they take you up about 40 feet in the air! I was not too keen on this idea, but everyone in the group was doing it, so I figured I would just try it. Going up high was a lot of fun and I am glad I did it!

At the end, our instructor went into the tunnel and put on a show with some amazing moves and flight control. He was a good instructor and made us feel comfortable during the whole experience.

One more thing that is nice about iFLY is they take video and pictures of each session so you will have a chance to see how well you did in the pictures and videos afterward. It does cost extra, but it is definitely worth it to see the results!

If there is anything that could be improved, I was thinking some group stretching exercises or a bit more practicing of the flight position before getting into the tunnel would be helpful. Also for my flight, when I went up high with the instructor, we spun around very fast which made it dizzy and kind of hard to focus. Other than that, it was a great experience and I would recommend trying it out at least once if you think it is something you would like to do. 

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