I look really excited in this picture, but the truth is I was scared! All I could think was, “Thank goodness I’m not jumping out of a plane!” A few years ago I had that impulse — kind of like a mid-life I’ve never done that! type of feeling.
I still haven’t. But today I went to iFly Seattle and took a lesson that would … if I choose to eventually jump … help prepare me for that moment. In fact, now that I’ve been in a wind tunnel, I totally recommend that anyone who wants to sky dive do this first. You will be so much more prepared and able to enjoy it.
But that’s not the only reason to learn to fly. This was seriously thrilling — what you cannot hear when you look at these photos is that I am whoop-whooping with glee the entire time! But not only thrilling, it was empowering. I really did not think I could do it well — and I did. And if I can do it — you can too.
So this is how it goes — after driving to iFly, which is next to South Center in Seattle, you say your prayers and go inside the red building that you cannot miss once you get off the freeway. You sign your life away — and say a few more prayers — and then you meet the nicest instructor in the world (if his name happens to be Willo) and you relax. He’s got you. You don’t have to go into that wind tunnel alone. In fact, he holds on — unless you’re just naturally gifted at holding your body still like I am (hee hee), in which case he lets you go for literally moments at a time so you can fly solo!
I went with a group of two women and four kids. We watched an instruction video and then Willo went over it again. We learned to swing our hips forward and tip our head to the ceiling with our hands over our heads — easy peasy. And we learned four signals that Willo would give us in the tunnel to help us maintain the proper body position.
Then we suited up — huge jumpsuits that catch the wind, ear plugs, goggles and helmets. Note: they have a Superman and a Spider Man suit for small children to use. Yes, ages 3 and up can do this.
Then we went into the outer part of the wind tunnel to wait our turn. I was last, so I got to learn from what everyone else did. The kids were all wiggly when they were flying and Willo had to hold onto them — even the slightest movement in high wind causes you to go all over the place, which was my chief concern. The woman right before me was still as can be and she did beautifully, so I took my cue from her. When it was my turn I leaned into the tunnel and Willo caught me — the air pressure was extreme and the skin on my face felt like it was flapping all over the place. I felt buffeted a bit, but I held the position and adjusted slowly as directed, and I was hovering in air.
You have to experience this to know what it’s like 🙂
On my second time in the tunnel (the introductory session consists of two one-minute long flights) Willo directed me to tip my hands slightly to the right and I did a 360-degree turn. Wow — how fun to control where I was going in air!
In the last 20 seconds, Willo took hold of me and we spun quickly to the top of the tunnel and back down — twice! It was like taking a ride with Superman!
Now I know I can fly — at iFly Seattle!
Photos courtesy of iFly Seattle and Jay Griffin
This session was courtesy of iFly Seattle