Would you believe kids as young as three can do indoor skydiving? It’s something we ponder as we wait outside the airlock-style door of the huge wind tunnel at iFly knowing the next thing we have to do is lean forward and wait for the gaseous mix of oxygen and nitrogen to catch us. We lean in and the powerful wind jet takes hold.
Each flight is the equivalent of a free-fall skydive from 14,000 feet. Our instructor runs through some of the simple up, down, left and right hand signals that he showed us in the safety briefing and with a few wobbles here and there we pick up basic speed control and navigation fairly quickly.
It’s all about the ‘look mum, look dad’ here, as the indoor skydiving takes place behind glass in the middle of the venue, which makes being a spectator a popular pastime. They also have a camera taking pictures throughout your ‘dive’ so you can purchase your most impressive pose – complete with g-force cheeks.
The facility is frequently used by the local military at RAAF Glenbrook for training simulations and watching an advanced diver fly around the shoot is like watching swooping magpies in a test tube: dangerous, elegant and fascinating.
At the end of our practice our instructor takes hold of our arm and leg for an exhilarating spin up to the top of the tunnel and back again. Even with a hairnet and helmet it’s hair raising stuff. Top tip: take a comb or hairbrush for afterwards.