Published On: Sun, Jul 23rd, 2017

iFly Skydiving Simulation in Virginia Beach

Directly, literally, across the street from the hotel we were staying was an iFly.  I was intrigued with the idea of giving it a shot, but it was more a passing thought.  Najwa, having watched other kids experiencing it from YouTube, insisted.  And I mean, each day we were there, every time we stepped out the hotel, she asked about it.

On our last day, we relented.  Considering we would have to drive right in front of it before hitting the highways, there was no use hoping she’d forget about it.  The pricing is a bit up there, excuse the pun, so it was just Najwa and myself.  That and the consistent warning about flying if you’ve had a shoulder injury in the past.  Nduku’s workout regiment is pretty intense and sometimes her shoulders act up so she was being cautious.  No use ripping the shoulder out its socket before the three plus hour ride home.

Before you get in there, you really have no idea of what the experience is like.  You watch others before you and some look calm and collected, others exhilarated, and then there’s those whose eyes look like they’re about to pop out their skulls when they start levitating in midair.  Knowing Najwa watched these videos that made it look so cool, we weren’t sure if the experience was going to be what she was expecting.  The staff and signs around the place did reiterate that this is not a carnival ride.

There’s a $10 additional fee for what’s called the high fly.  That’s when they take you up in the air 10, maybe 12 feet.  And who knows what a six year old how a six year old will handle that.  Nduku was telling Najwa to stay calm when she got in the air.  Once you get in the chamber, it’s so loud that there’s no talking.  So if she starts freaking out, so be it.

There’s a quick training class that goes over body positioning and hand signals.  Najwa already knew them.  Then we suited up.  Somehow Najwa stuck her foot through where her arm was supposed to go through.  Bad sign maybe?  Then we donned out helmets, stepped into waiting area just before the air chamber, and Najwa sat right at the front to go first.

The flight instructor led her to the door, she stepped out into the chamber, and, while holding my breath that she’ll stay calm and be all right…

Watching her floating in midair kind of took my breath away.  I think I admired her more for her determination, the way she showed zero fear, how she embraced it and gave it everything she had to do what was asked to enjoy the experience.  Arms out, palms down; toes pointed straight, legs slightly bent; head up; it’s only a one minute trip into the chamber but during the entire one minute, I marveled at how well she did.

There were a bunch of us adults who went after her, and watching her handle it with ease, coming out the chamber with this massive smile, making it look so easy, probably made it easier for everyone else.  I felt better knowing she wasn’t going to freak out.  Everyone did two flights, but with a small group leaving extra time at the end, the instructor asked if anyone wanted to go another round, for a small $25 fee of course.

And confirm that she really had no fear, that she enjoyed the experience, Najwa threw her lip out, that silly, pouty, please say yes look she gives.  So, she went again, and again, I just marveled at how easy she made it look.

iFly Virginia Beach
iFly Virginia Beach

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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