If you have ever been stuck in a car with young kids for an extended period of time you have probably heard the “what if” game. That’s when they ask you a question starting with “what if,” which is then followed by the craziest thing their creative minds can think of, while fully expecting a sincere and well thought out response from you. Which is why it can be so exhausting. My kids are pros at it. And if we tallied up all the hours they used the “what if” game to pass the time, I think we’d find that the most popular “what if” questions have to do with them flying. So when I heard about iFLY Seattle, I knew this would be too good to pass up for them. You could imagine how excited I was to tell them that we were going somewhere so that they could fly. I had to show them Youtube videos before they would believe me.
After booking our appointment online we made the 3 hour drive up to Seattle. When you go indoor skydiving, they ask you to show up an hour early so that you can get suited up and learn some basic hand motions for communication while in the wind tunnel. This is also good because it gives you a chance to watch a few people in the group before you.
Indoor skydiving is a great activity for a group of friends because it is so easy to laugh at each other as you struggle to find some sense of balance and keep the wind holding you up. I wouldn’t recommend taking a first date, because the image of you yelling in the wind tunnel and flaring your arms around like a special needs student as you are trying to find a position that keeps you afloat is probably not an image that you want to lead with. The drool flying out of your mouth onto your googles won’t help either. If you do bring a date, just keep in mind that the wind tunnel will blow and mess up your guys’ hair so badly that you may have some explaining to do when you go to drop your date off at her parents house.
At first I had as much control as a rag doll. When I was pushed up or spinning around in the air, it was not due to any control that I had, but just because that was what was happening to me. The trainers make it look so easy and are amazing at manipulating the wind to control where they go and how fast. But keep in mind that they have had hundreds of hours of training.
There will be an instructor in the wind tunnel with you that is there to give you instructions on body position adjustments as well as keeping you from flying into one of the walls. The hardest thing for me was finding a balance. I’d compare it to surfing for the first time; you will be shaky and squirrely but at least with surfing you have something to stand on. With indoor skydiving there is nothing to touch or grab onto to adjust your balance. For me, I was moving my arms and legs around too much in effort to straighten out and it wasn’t until I was able to relax myself that I was able to stay straight and let the wind do it’s job and hold me up.
For a little extra money you can have an instructor fly with you. They will grab onto you and effortlessly fly you up thirty feet into the air and then back down again. This is definitely worth the extra money. If you are going to experience indoor skydiving, then you really want to experience the most thrilling part. If you just float near the bottom and spin around a few times you will enjoy it, but it would be like riding in a race car and never getting out of first gear. You really should experience just how cool this can be.
The trainers and crew at iFLY Seattle were absolutely amazing. They are good at what they do and will make sure that you have an amazing time. I would definitely put indoor skydiving on your bucket list. For me, it is something that I want to keep doing until I master it. If you have kids, take them. They will love it and you will have just as much fun watching them as doing it yourself. I promise. I was cracking up watching my 5 year old’s little arms and legs blow around like one of those inflatable tube men you see blowing around outside of a used car lot.
Lastly, if you have neck issues like I do, plan ahead and bring some Tylenol. Even though there is hopefully no impact, the wind will push your head back and you will be fighting to pull your chin down to keep your body flat. You will be having so much fun that you won’t notice it at the time, but there might be some discomfort afterwards.