We did our flying at iFLY in Union CIty. What an operation! I cannot begin to imagine the size of the fans necessary to generate the wind needed to lift hefty human bodies into the air.
We spent the first 30 minutes as spectators, watching 2 guys take turns learning tricks (they’d probably call them skills, to me they looked like tricks.) Two instructors and one student flying, floating and flipping around in a big clear tube. They switched places every 2 minutes. First one practicing headstands then letting go of the mesh floor and floating head down. The other seemed to be working on the finer points of flying in the seated position, using hand positions to turn his body from side to side and subtle changes in leg angles to change elevation.
One of my companions sat with rapt attention, mimicking the gestures and positions. Watch out world, she’s going to show us some moves when it’s her turn
Finally, we were called in for flight training which consisted of a quick video about body position and hand signals, followed by a flight instructor telling us about body position and hand signals.
Then it was time to suit up. A baggy flight suit (more surface area to help us fly), tight goggles, ear plugs, and a helmet. This kept us too busy to watch the 12 little kids that flew in the time slot ahead of us. I imagined them flying around the chamber like dandelion fluff.
Soon it was our turn and we all filed into the staging area and took a seat on the bench that wraps around the back side of the chamber.
Stand at the door, cross your hands under your chin, lean in and extend your arms. Suddenly you’re flying. The entry is a bit like diving into a swimming pool from the second step. The flight instructor hangs onto the handles on the suit and signals you to change your body position so you get stable and float in the center of the chamber. He also keeps you from soaring off into the dark upper recesses of the tunnel. The minute, or was it 90 seconds, pass in a flash and suddenly, almost magically you’re standing back in the staging area.
The second time feels like it lasts longer because now you know better what to expect, but it’s still much too short. I opted for a “high fly” experience (we all did, of course.) With about 15 seconds left in the flight the flight instructor loops an arm through your armpit, grabs one of the suit handles and starts the two of you spinning, then suddenly you shoot straight up the tube, out of sight. Moments later you come spinning back down. This repeats twice more. As the salesperson described: more like a zip line than a roller coaster. Whee!!!!!!
I can see how this could become an addictive (and expensive) activity. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and if the appearance of the instructors in their tight red flight suits is any indication, it’s a really great whole body work out.
I can certainly feel it in my shoulders, back and upper arms today.