Indoor skydiving: Flying without the fear factor

Have you always dreamed of skydiving? Indoor skydiving is the adventure activity for you.

The feeling of flying is unique and thrilling. It’s something we all dreamed of as children – swimming weightlessly through the air, with nothing tethering us to the ground. It’s a feeling of freedom and lightness that gives you a serious rush of adrenaline.

But for many of us, the idea of jumping out of a plane to experience this feeling isn’t too appealing. Indoor skydiving, on the other hand, gives you a safe and controlled environment to fly in.

Instead of a dizzying drop and a parachute, you’ve got a big glass tunnel with a massive wind generator that propels you skyward. It takes away the element of fear, but still gives you a fun, adventurous and exhilarating experience.

One place you can try it for yourself is iFLY Indoor Skydiving, Australia’s first state-of-the-art flying centre, with locations in Sydney and the Gold Coast. To find out more about how it all works, we had a quick chat with iFLY marketing manager Cheryl Dawson.

“It provides the same feeling on the body as outdoor skydiving, but without the 14,000-foot plummet.”

What is indoor skydiving?

Indoor skydiving is both an exhilarating experience and a highly addictive sport. It is safe for kids, challenging for adults, exciting for teens and realistic for skydivers. There’s no parachute, no jumping and nothing attaching you to planet earth! It’s just you and the air – and an incredible adrenaline rush.

It provides the same physical feeling on the body as outdoor skydiving, but without the 14,000-foot plummet and within the safety of a fully controlled environment.

As your body flight abilities improve, you are able try different positions and manoeuvres including turns, rolls, flips, flying head down and more.

How does the wind tunnel work?

iFLY uses the latest technology to generate wind speeds up to 250 km/h. Huge fans push the wind wall-to-wall through the vertical flight chamber, creating a stable and safe cushion of air to fly on. (For a more detailed explanation, you can learn more about the wind tunnel technology here.)

What do we need to know about safety?

Indoor skydiving is the safest form of human body flight and can be experienced by anyone from the age of three to 103. iFLY’s state-of-the-art facilities provide a fully controllable experience. You are guided by a highly qualified instructor who remains with you at all times in the wind tunnel, keeping you safe and teaching you all the tips and tricks of flying.

If you are pregnant or have had serious back, neck or shoulder injuries, indoor skydiving may not be for you – but the 360-degree glass tunnel and all round viewing platform allows you to share in the experience too.

“Indoor skydiving is the safest form of human body flight. It can be experienced by anyone from the age of three to 103.”

Trying it out at iFLY Gold Coast

Medibank member Anna recently visited iFLY Gold Coast to give indoor skydiving a try. Here’s what she told us about her experience.

Flying for the first time

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I arrived at iFLY. Like most people, I’ve always thought I’d love to experience what it’s like to fly. But I’m a little scared of heights, so skydiving isn’t something I’ve ever thought of doing.

Before our session started, we spent some time watching others in the wind tunnel. It was mesmerising watching everyone float in the air, with huge smiles on their faces as they dipped and swerved through the tunnel.

Being able to watch first also helped ease everyone’s nerves – we could see how safe and controlled it was, with the flight instructors always there for support.

In the training room, our flight instructor showed us a video, took us through some safety precautions and demonstrated the flying technique. I was nervous that it would be complicated, but it couldn’t be simpler – basically, all you have to do is put your arms out in front of you, keep your legs out straight and lift your chin up.

“The flight instructor guides you, helping you adjust your position, and then you just float around, completely effortlessly.”

Next, we got into our gear – flying suits over our clothes, helmets, ear plugs and goggles. And then it was time to fly.

To start flying, you stand in the doorway to the wind tunnel and lean forward onto the column of air. The flight instructor guides you, helping you adjust your position, and then you just float around, completely effortlessly.

Each flight in the wind tunnel lasts for one to two minutes – which sounds short, but your arms are definitely ready for a rest by the end of it. You don’t have to do much while flying, but your muscles feel it.

It’s hard to compare the feeling of flying to anything else. It’s like swimming through the air, and it never felt scary or unsafe. During our second flight, the flight instructor whizzed us all the way to the top of the wind tunnel – a superhero moment that definitely topped off the experience!

At the end of our session, we were all buzzing with adrenaline. All up it was a really fun, unique experience, and I recommend anyone trying it for a special adventure.

iFLY Indoor Skydiving has facilities in Sydney, the Gold Coast and (soon) Perth. Find out more and experience the feeling of flight for yourself.

Recommended reading - Issue Three Autumn 2013

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