I’ve known Mark since the age of 13. We have been best friends since. The shared memories have served to strengthen our friendship.
We don’t get to see each other often. He lives in central Texas and I live in North Texas. For those of you not in the know, that is a five hour competitive race on Texas roads. Not for the faint at heart.
He was in North Texas on business the first week of March. This was a key moment, his birthday. Seldom are we together for one another’s birthday.
He wanted to do an indoor sky diving experience. Count me in. We met on a Tuesday evening at a rather unusual shaped building in Frisco, called iFly. You can visit their website at iFlyworld.com
Modern technology has been carefully crafted with precision to produce an intense experience. The whole building is built around the ability to move an extreme amount of air in a smooth, powerful, and controlled fashion through a 14 foot diameter vertical tunnel.
The whole building, substantial in size and design, reverberates with power when they crank up the massive fans. The air moves in a closed loop from the floor, through the vertical wind tunnel, into the ceiling, then through the building walls, in a steady predictable controlled pattern. A “driver” controls the power and velocity based on weight and number of people in the chamber.
We were put through a pre-flight routine. Physical questions, payment, and then a short simple class. The instructors are younger fit men, mostly military background from what I gather. They are all experienced at sky diving from airplanes and attest this is identicle to that experience. Our instructor, Nolan, shares he has broken bones in this chamber. That was reassuring, let me tell you.
The power is incredible. The build up sitting in the clear enclosed antechamber waiting for my turn is downright intimidating. I had a serious moment of doubt if I made the right choice. The moment of truth arrived and I did as instructed: just fall forward.
Overwhelming experience to be honest. The roar is deafening, hence we had to insert ear plugs. The wind is hurricane force in strength and is relentless. All communication is by hand signals. It isn’t as simple as it looks, but isn’t that hard either (if that makes sense). You either get it or you don’t, but most get it.
Mark and I opted for “the high fly” option. This means on your second one minute flight, the instructor will take you up to the top. I almost chickened out as the first flight near the wire mesh at the bottom was enough for me, but I’m glad I pushed through. It is a freaky adrenaline rush no doubt.
I tell you what, minor as it may appear to the uninitiated, this was a big deal to me. Not only was the experience absolutely top notch, but the company couldn’t be beat. I got to experience a high flying adrenaline rush that defies easy description and I got to do it with someone closer to my heart than a brother.
Here’s a video of my flight. I wish there was a way to capture the sheer roar of the audio and the power of the super intense moment in the chamber:
Notice how much trouble I had walking at the end? Not easy to do, trust me. My instructor was a clown making fun of me.
While we were waiting to begin, we watched the effortless graceful flight of our instructor. Follow this link to see it. Just amazing.
What a great way to celebrate a buddy’s birthday. Happy birthday Mark, thank you for sharing this with me.