Skydiving – is it on your To Do List?
Have you ever wanted to go skydiving, but you were too scared to jump out of a plane? That’s me!
I know a few people who have been skydiving and they all say it’s the most exhilarating experience, but the thought of actually jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet or more scares the living daylights out of me. The fact that you’re strapped to an experienced instructor does nothing to calm my nerves.
My husband has mentioned he’d like to go sky-diving at some point, but he too wasn’t sure about jumping out of a plane. Recently, when it was his birthday, our teenage son suggested we give my husband a voucher for iFly, an indoor skydiving facility at Surfers Paradise, on the Gold Coast. This is only about 35 minutes away from where we live, so it was convenient for us too.
When he opened the parcel I’d wrapped the voucher in and saw the picture, hubby thought he was going to have to jump out of a plane. He was quite relieved yet excited about going to iFly. Our son was keen to join him, so I decided the whole family would go along. It’s one of those experiences you’ll try at least once – at just over $400 for the four of us to go, it wasn’t cheap.
We arrived, as instructed, an hour before our scheduled flight time. After checking in, we went into the seating area overlooking the flight chamber. We had plenty of time to watch others as they stepped into the chamber and a massive force of air suspended their bodies as though they were actually sky-diving. An instructor stays in the tube with you, standing on the safety net, helping you to keep your body in the right position to stay flying. If you put your chin down or have your arms and legs in the wrong position, it’s very easy to get a sudden drop, rise or to roll over like a turtle! Any of these things can result in injury too.
We watched as each person in the group took their turn at flying, and tried to observe what they were doing right – and wrong – so that we could learn from their experience. About 30 minutes before our scheduled flight time, we were called over to the side by Ross, our instructor, who ushered us into a training room to watch a short instructional video.
As you can’t speak or hear in the chamber, there are four hand signals you need to know, which as pictured here. The instructor signals you to either: keep your legs straight, bend your legs, keep your chin up or relax. Ross reinforced these signals with us at the completion of our training session.
Next, we moved out into the dressing area, where we were given a set of fetching orange overalls each, plus a helmet and goggles. All jewellery had to be removed and we were required to wear lace up sports shoes. There was time to take a quick photo, then store our valuables in the lockers before we moved around to the flight chamber.
We were seated on a long bench in the sealed outer area of the flight chamber, where the flight controller was also located. One by one, the members of our group entered the tube, with the instructor signalling when anyone needed to bend or straighten our legs, reposition their arms or keep their chin up (this is important in order to stop yourself from falling or turning over).
The four of us were last on the bench. Our teenage kids were a little nervous, and so was hubby, but I felt OK … until it was my turn to enter the chamber. Just about everything I’d been instructed to do was instantly erased from my memory as the force of the wind hit me and I became airborne.
We were told to smile for the camera (naturally, they take your photo and sell it to you), but there’s so much to concentrate on and the wind is really strong, so if you manage a good photo, you’re lucky. After a shaky start, with Ross’ guidance, I managed to position myself so that I could hover correctly, but before I knew it, my time was up and I was being ushered to the exit of the flight chamber. Next!
My second flight was a little easier. Another instructor came into the chamber, linked through one arm and leg, started spinning and took me up high into the top of the tube, down and then up high again, all while spinning. It was a little like an amusement park ride but sadly, it was over all too quickly.
After we’d all had two turns, the instructor briefly demonstrated his flying prowess with a few smooth moves inside the chamber. We were impressed as we’d just demonstrated how difficult it is just to maintain your balance in there, let alone undertake trick manoeuvres!
The only negative part of the iFly experience is that you only get 2 x two minute flights!
We exited the outer chamber and disrobed out of our overalls, helmets and goggles. We all had a degree of helmet hair and goggle marks on our faces, which my son thought was hilarious!
I would imagine I’d be quite terrified to jump out of a plane, whereas this was fun and quite safe.
Booking online was easy. The iFly facility itself is relatively new and very clean and tidy. The team were friendly and helpful.
At $99 per person, plus an additional $10 each for the high-flying experience, it’s not something we’d do on a regular basis, but as a one-off experience, it was lots of fun.
If skydiving is on your bucket list, but jumping out of a plane isn’t your idea of fun, we would definitely recommend this experience for anyone who wants to try the sensation of skydiving in a safe, controlled environment.
Have you ever been skydiving? Would you like to go skydiving? Does indoor skydiving sound like something you would do?
If not skydiving, what kind of adventurous activity is on your Bucket List?
Please leave your comments in the box below. Thank you :).
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