FRIAR TRIERS: Indoor Skydiving


Mike Harrington

I like doing things. I’m a fun guy. So I decided to try something entirely foreign to me: skydiving.

I’ve always wanted to try skydiving, but I frankly don’t have the time to do all the preparation and training. Plus it is way more expensive than the route I chose to pursue for this endeavour. I decided to cheat a little bit as I arrived at IFLY in King of Prussia.

As an adrenaline junkie who hasn’t participated in many adrenaline-inducing activities, I was pumped as I walked into the indoor skydiving facility. After registering with the system, my eyes wandered about the facility, and my excitement skyrocketed tenfold.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I thought to myself several times as I watched them, “Oh they are doing that so easily, I bet I could do something like that when it’s my turn.”

Well, Past Michael, how wrong you were, how wrong you were indeed.[/perfectpullquote]

The main attraction was the wind tunnel in the center, and two of the trainers were practicing together when I first arrived. It was INSANE. They looked as if they danced on the air itself as they bobbed and weaved past each other. Mouth open and hitting the floor, I was in total and utter disbelief at how well they moved through the air.

I thought to myself several times as I watched them, “Oh they are doing that so easily, I bet I could do something like that when it’s my turn.” Well, Past Michael, how wrong you were, how wrong you were indeed.

The people from my time slot were eventually called up to the counter to start our training, which consisted of a 5 minute video containing several skydiving puns. Let’s just say time didn’t fly by. I don’t want to talk about it. There also several hand signals that they expected us to learn before we started due to the fact that you can’t hear at all when in the tunnel.

Our instructor Dave made indoor skydiving seem like a walk through the park or taking out the trash. He kept saying we would be fine if we relaxed, so naturally, I believed him. Imagine my attitude of complete and utter confidence in myself as I went through this training. I want you to picture it in your head, so that you can really feel it shatter.

After the short period of preparation, I reached the point at which I was allowed to put on my windsuit. I cherished that thing. I felt like I was in Top Gun or something, doing power poses everywhere and looking like a total man’s man. Maybe that’s why people were staring at me. Yeah, that’s definitely it. I looked awesome.

Anyway, enough about me. I’m sure you just want me to get to the grand finale, the pièce de résistance, the cherry on top of the metaphorical vanilla sundae.

It was one small step for Michael, one giant leap for Michael kind.

I hope you enjoyed reading that magnificent sentence as much as I enjoyed writing it. Truly, I hope you did.

I walked into the enclosed area leading into the wind tunnel and waited for it to be my turn. Seeing other people do it well made me feel so secure in myself, and in a blink of an eye, it was my turn.

I jumped into the chamber, quickly realizing that I was floating. It’s a very strange feeling to see yourself not touching any solid ground. But nevertheless, I had so much fun for the two sessions I had in there. The first one was more controlled. Dave held onto me the entire time, guiding me so I didn’t flip over or full on-deck myself into a wall. I almost did this several times by the way, which was certainly a frightening sight.

Dave lied to me. It wasn’t easy at all. My bulky, uncoordinated frame didn’t like balancing itself while floating, like that is ever supposed to be an easy task. I have a hard enough time being ever the slightest bit coordinated already, come on Dave. Although, the sight of other newcomers flailing about helped ease my concerns a teensy bit. 

My second session turned out to be a much more fun time than my first. After a little bit of balancing, Dave grabbed onto me and propelled us upwards about ten or 15 feet several times. This was by far my favorite part of my time at IFLY. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever been slightly curious, Stop wondering and go.

Hopefully sometime soon I can tackle the real thing and really give my heart something to throb over.