I flew. They flew. Carefree in the iFly chamber with a guide monitoring our movements. As our Christmas gift, thirteen of my family members joined me on the adventure. This was me sticking my toe in the “flying waters” to see if I could muster the nerve to take the next step – skydiving.
I thought long and hard before making the appointment. First of all, it was a considerable expense, so I needed to determine its worth. Once decided, I invited my family to join me. Coordinating thirteen people’s schedules proved no small task. After a couple of snafus and a last-minute adjustment, I secured the time and date. Whew!
Now to arrive on time. Due to our hectic December schedule, we had arranged our annual Christmas cookie decorating extravaganza on the morning of our iFly appointment. That made it an extra busy day for all, but well worth it. I’ll save that story for another day.
Eventually, we all assembled at the Hurst iFly location to check-in. Ages 6 to 73 were poised for this new adventure. Some nervous. Others calm. The rest excited.
All the while I was planning this, I had expected to feel excitement and anticipation. However, I felt no emotion whatsoever. That puzzled me. I wasn’t nervous, scared, or excited. Nothing. Hmmm, how will this work out for me? That remained a mystery until I experienced it.
First, the clerk weighed each one to set the right air pressure per person. Then we assembled for a tutorial. A successful flight required specific posturing for it to work. Once we finished watching the video, our flight instructor repeated the instructions and handed us our gear. We pulled on our jumpsuits, secured our tennis shoes, inserted earplugs, fastened on our helmets, and fitted our goggles. No turning back now.
Lining up, we threaded our way into the exterior chamber and plopped down on the benches that faced the interior where all the action would happen. An attendant manned the controls. Facing us, our guide asked, “Who’s first?”
Immediately, I stuck up my arm, announcing, “Me.” My family cheered me on. Ready to launch, I grabbed the sides of the doorway and faced our pro – and the fierce wind. I appreciated the earplugs that protected my ears from the noisy wind. Off I flew.
Totally focused, I positioned my arms, head, and legs according to our instructions. I determined to enjoy this flight to the max. In this turn, the pro stood on the floor to guide me throughout the chamber on the lower level, known as the “low flight”. As the strong wind buffeted me, I swirled around gleefully. Although only one minute, it seemed longer. What a joy! My smile expressed it all. It met all my expectations.
Once through, he and I high-fived. Everyone whooped while I wobbled to my seat, grinning from ear to ear. Then each one took his turn.
After our first flights, the instructor offered a challenge for our second turns: the “high flight” for an extra thrill. Without hesitation, I raised my hand. Others followed.
Two of our teens, who had been nervous about the lower flight, leaped to the chance to “high fly” after they saw my old-lady-courage. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain. They had already killed their fears with the lower flight.
The high flying? Epic. No other word suffices. An incomparable exhilaration. Completely unaware of the pro guiding me, I swooped higher and higher throughout the chamber. Then we plunged down only to rise again. I felt like a feather. All my life I have dreamed of flying like Peter Pan. This was it. Finally, I had found my pixie dust.
In my 73 years, I’ve experienced many adventures that stirred varied emotions, but this was a pure thrill. Although I’d never want to be an adrenaline junkie, I can understand the pull. That toe in the water accomplished its goal. Next stop: skydiving. Watch out world. No stopping me now!