Friday, March 28, 2014

Riding the wind

Sawyer soars
My grandson, almost as light as a feather and far more agile than me, floated upward without apparent effort. I tended to sink like the proverbial stone ... when I wasn't bouncing off the walls.

We were skydiving ... indoors ... at a new concept branded 'iFLY.' Great fun.

Essentially, you're in a chamber of plexiglass. From below, an array of fans funnels a column of air, and you ride the wind, so to speak. They adjust the strength of the breeze to the weight of the participant.

Sawyer made it look easier than I found it to be. Before the skydiving session, they provide training in how to hold your arms, legs, and head so you become, in effect, an arched flying wing or glider. They also teach you the hand signals the instructor will use to help you in the chamber.

I was so busy trying to figure out whether my knees were properly bent (they weren't), my arms were sufficiently extended (no), and keeping my chin up (sometimes) that I had a hard time focusing on what Josh was trying to get me to do. Not necessarily good practice for the real skydiving I'm hoping to do in Spain later this year - at least for that I'll be strapped to someone who knows what to do and when to pull the cord.

My grandson, by contrast, had even figured out how to tilt his hands to initiate a turn. He spent a lot more time floating on his own than he did being guided by Josh.

In the 2nd of 2 two-minute sessions, Josh latches on, does some turns, and spins you up to the top of the chamber about three times.

And when everyone is done, they fire up the maximum force and Josh does some Spiderman-style acrobatics up, down, and around the chamber.

The iFLY manager told me there are several such facilities around Europe, and they're putting a new one in Paris. I'd like to see them project a computer-generated image of the ground so it could be more like real skydiving, but not sure how that would work with the gridwork through which the air passes.
At least I got a little ways off the ground

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