Yep, that’s me, smiling like an idiot, floating four feet above the earth on 130 mph winds. All those Peter Pan dreams finally came true!
Our indoor skydiving session at the iFly in Union City was an experience I wish we could re-live every day. Indoor skydiving is obviously a zillion-times safer than jumping out of an airplane (mad respect to those people!) and is an affordable way to skydive for the same amount of time as you would outdoors – about 2 minutes.
Our experience was broken up into two sessions of 1 minute each, so we learned techniques for achieving the most lift the first round and then tried to reach higher heights the second round.
- Legs slightly bent because straight legs will destabilize your body.
- Mouth closed because trying to breathe during a windstorm is not impossible, but definitely not fun.
- Arms bent and fingers spread to maximize your body’s surface area for optimal lift.
- Head up for stabilization and to look at the camera! (I was pretty bad at this one)
You can see our instructor standing on a mesh trampoline above the jet turbine tunnel that hoisted us upward. The turbines are actually on the ceiling and shoot the air down the side walls of the building before blowing up through the middle tunnel from the bottom of the building. Here’s a video of how it works.
Flyers as young as three years old can learn to “bodyfly” as they call it, with varying levels of instruction and supervision. Seasoned flyers buy chunks of time to practice more advanced bodyflight skills, like flips, upside down flight, and high flight, which is flying to the top of the wind tunnel (not skydiving while high, which may disappoint some Californians).
During high flight, the air speed is increased to more than 200 mph, propelling flyers 50 feet in the air, over and over. Many professional skydivers, in groups or alone, practice at iFly to perfect their skills before skydiving outdoors. The stakes are much higher out in the real world!
You can see in my video below that the instructor used hand signals to communicate during the session, and kept us from running head-first into the wall by grasping foam handles on the sides and backs of our flight suits.
After floating on air, we were surprisingly sore! Our shoulders were exhausted from pushing against the wind, so I can only imagine the whole-body soreness that 200 mph winds would cause, compared to our 130 mph winds.
Keep scrolling to watch me and Brandon fly! It’s harder than it looks to stay stable, especially when I kept looking down.
Top of the tunnel where the air is recycled and continues the fast loop around the building. Some flyers make it all the way up there during high flight!
Those goggles really mashed our cheeks!