Adventure-A-Day: Day 25
I have wanted to go sky diving for a looong time now but I haven’t been able to make it happen. I came very close to getting airborne when I was in New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown, but for each day that I was there, the dive was cancelled due to poor weather. Since then the opportunity just hasn’t presented itself. The problem is, I really want to do it somewhere that is truly picturesque, unique. My visit to the Grand Canyon would have been the perfect opportunity…..if I hadn’t been pregnant at the time.
I’m confident it will happen one day but in the mean time I thought I would try out a little place called iFLY that’s located just outside of Toronto. Home to a wind tunnel, it gives fliers the opportunity to defy gravity and simulate the free fall of a sky dive – indoors!
A friend and I went today and signed up for an adventure in the air.
After signing a waiver we headed up to see the actual wind tunnel/chamber itself and meet our instructor. Lorenzo turned out to be a tall, super fit, handsome man with a big smile. He led 6 of us into a small room for a short training session that would prep us on the proper flying formation, the important hand signals while in the flying chamber and a few safety reminders. We watched a quick video and reviewed the pertinent points and then took turns simulating the flying position before heading back out to get suited up in our flying gear. We zipped up from head to toe in our ‘flying suits’, added some ear plugs to help block the noise of the wind we were about to face, pulled on protective eyewear and snapped up our helmets. Ready to fly.
My friend and I had signed up for a total of 4 1-minute flights each. I found myself more excited than nervous but one thought did creep into my head more than once….”what happens if I lose my form?” “Do I crash to the floor…spiral up to the ceiling?”
When it was my turn I stood in the narrow doorway to the chamber with my arms pressed against my chest. Lorenzo leaned me forward into the chamber and opened my left arm. As my body lifted up into a horizontal position I opened up my right arm and he let go. I was flying.
And then I hit the wall. I followed his hand signals to get back into a stable flying position. It’s such an awesome feeling. Weightless. Defying gravity.
Oddly, at times the experience reminded me of scuba diving – that surreal feeling of finding yourself in a place you couldn’t even imagine being, your hearing muffled and time feeling as though its both standing still and whizzing by at the same time. Before I knew it Lorenzo grabbed my waist and lowered me to the doorframe. My minute was up. All 6 of us were loving it. Each of us entered the chamber and moments later had one of those ridiculous (unattractive) looking grins plastered on our faces. Pure joy. Ugly but pure. We also discovered that smiling while having a massive blast of air shooting at you causes drooling – also not pretty. But, these are small prices to pay for the sensation of flying. On my second flight I discovered a knack for spinning. I wasn’t trying to spin and it actually made me a little dizzy at times but it did make for a fun ‘flight’ and entertained the onlookers at the same time. My friend was MUCH better at keeping her form than I and she followed the instructors signals to learn how to raise and lower herself. Another woman was lucky enough to get a short tandem flight with Lorenzo which gave her the opportunity to fly higher up into the chamber.
It was a fantastic experience and one that many people can appreciate regardless of age or fitness level. I’m looking at it as my stepping stone to an actual sky diving experience one day. Today was about me perfecting my free fall – and my drool-free smile – for my eventual ultimate adventure in the air.
I’d do it again and again. Who knew I could do it?
Did you have an adventure today?