Sunday, June 7, 2009

I Flew at IFly!

A few years ago I tried a tandem skydive and I'll blog about that later. This weekend, though, I went for indoor skydiving at IFly in Union City. This is the type where there is a giant wind tunnel that blows air at about 100 mph so that you lift up.

I went with a Meetup group that consisted of nine people. We were able to get a half hour block for our group alone. The cost for a first timer group rate was $55. We had arrived about an hour early because the drive to the Bay area was pretty smooth. After checking in and signing our waivers, we went upstairs to the observation deck to watch others fly.

At noon our group was called into Jump School. We watched a short instructional video that showed us the hand signals we would need to know for positioning in the tunnel. Then each of us got onto the table to practice form and reading the hand signals from our instructor, Ryan. Here is Marla on the table.

Next stop was the outfitting area where we were each given earplugs, goggles, a helmet, and a jumpsuit. You were required to take off all jewelry and had to have lace up sneakers. Finally it was our turn into the chamber.

They take you through in a rotation. You get a little over a minute your first time where you get your first taste of how to position yourself. Some people are naturals. Others take a lot of help from the instructor who is acting as your spotter.


The second time you get another minute and hopefully get into position quickly and without much help. If you do, then the instructor might help you learn to turn or control going up and down. If you are lucky, he'll hold on to you and you will spin up to the top of the chamber as a a linked couple.

When we had all finished our second rotation Ryan entered the tunnel, the wind was turned up to 150 mph, and he showed off doing all kinds of tricks like spinning and somersaults.

We were told that repeat flyers get discounted rates. You can also buy blocks of time. For instance, a full half hour all to yourself would be $450. Or you could share that block with others, maybe three friends, so that you divide up that half hour and get more minutes each. As you get better they will eventually teach you tricks.

Oh, and you can take children as young as three years old!

What a fun day. I preferred this to my real tandem skydive. I'll write about that next. Meanwhile, consider IFly for a party or special occasion. It's not outrageously priced and it IS fun.

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