If you’re looking for a different kind of experience, this local company delivers.
I know I’m not the only one to dream of flying. But, at this moment in my life, I’m not prepared to leap out of a perfectly functional airplane, thank you very much. So I went to iFLY Utah.
The whole experience took about an hour. It was nothing like a ride, where you just hop in and hang on. When flying, you are an active participant, and you have to learn what to do. Trust me, if you just jumped into the tunnel without any guidance, you would regret it! It would be a little like jumping into the middle of the deep-end of the pool having no idea how to swim. Human flight requires very specific positions and movements. It takes balance and training to do it well. It’s not as easy as it looks, but it’s so fun! How often do you get to fly?
iFLY has some basic common sense restrictions. If you are pregnant, or have back, neck or shoulder problems, you should hold off. Their website has more detailed health information. But in a nutshell, if you’re in good health, and at least three years old, under 250 pounds, you’re good to go. The first thing to expect is a few minutes of classroom training. You’ll want to pay attention to this. Then it was time to put on a flight suit, helmet, goggles, and ear plugs. Don’t neglect the ear plugs. It will be really loud in there. Now of course, you’ll have to use sign language to talk to your instructors.
I flew with Dusty Hanks, a veteran of 14,000 skydives, and over 6,000 hours in the tunnel. He is on a team called SDC Core that competes around the world. They have four World Championship titles and have won the last five US National Titles. But he didn’t seem too busy to instruct me as a beginner. He was awesome! He knows how to teach people how to fly. He is also very talented at keeping you from hitting the walls, ceiling or floor. Without his help I would have done all of those things. With his help, I flew very safely.
The first thing you want to learn is how to hold your position in the air. Any tiny motion has a big effect in high wind. So stay still in the air, keep your chin up, and fly! Entering the tunnel wasn’t scary at all. There’s no jumping or leaping in. You go to the door, and, with your instructor keeping a close eye on you, lean in and let the wind hold you up. Flying is very physical. It uses muscles we might not normally use, but it doesn’t take a lot of strength. With Dusty’s help we went right to the top of the tunnel and down again without hitting the bottom. It was so cool. The whole flight is an experience you won’t forget! I want to fly again as soon as possible.
Here in Ogden when you skydive from an airplane, they fly you up to about 13,000 feet before you jump out. You free fall for 45-60 seconds, then deploy your parachute and float for 3-5 minutes. I had no idea the whole trip down would be done in 6 minutes. So, skydivers who want to learn to make formations, like Dusty’s World Champion team, can use a wind tunnel to learn the motions they use in the sky. Since every outdoor jump gets you 1 minute of flight time, you can see why they do so much work indoors.
iFLY was really fun, NOT scary at all, and something I will always remember.
I was totally blown away by the experience.