Indoor Skydiving at iFly Hollywood

Ever dream of flying? I know I have. I love the feeling of being above ground, letting my feet dangle in the air or riding on an airplane, gazing down at the cities below me.

My desire to fly has inspired me to someday skydive. However, the fear of falling hundreds of feet hinders me from reaching this goal just yet. I recently found a wonderful alternative which allows me to experience the feeling of human flight: indoor skydiving.

Indoor skydiving takes place in a vertical wind tunnel where air rises in the tunnel and lifts you off the ground, offering an incredible flight experience.

Very few indoor skydiving locations are operational in America, 15 at the most. Luckily, three of the wind tunnels are located in California. The closest one from Irvine is called iFly Hollywood, located at Universal Studios City Walk. As soon as my sister and I learned about it, we signed up for a two-flight session.

When first arriving at iFly Hollywood, my sister and I both grew very nervous. The wind tunnel is located outside, where many people stop and gawk at the flyers.

If being in front of an audience was not scary enough, the fear of messing up or accidentally hurting myself made my stomach coil in knots.

My nerves quickly turned to excitement as my sister and I entered into the training room where our instructor, Scott, was ready to teach us the basics of indoor skydiving.

The instructors, including Scott, were all very outgoing and sweet. Their cheerful personalities relieved almost all of the anxiety I had about going in the wind tunnel. Scott taught us the best position to be in when flying, followed by the hand signals he would give us in the wind tunnel to help us correct our form.

You cannot hear a thing when you are in the wind tunnel, so the hand signals are the only way to communicate while in the tunnel.

After the lesson, everyone gathered into the next room where we put on our gear. This included a flight suit, goggles, helmet and ear plugs.

Now all we had to do was wait for the group ahead of us to finish, and then we were on our way. The wait felt longer than it really was, due to how excited and nervous I was. Finally, after what seemed like forever, we entered the wind tunnel.

The wind tunnel has a seating area where we could wait as each person takes his or her turn. In the seating area, a trained employee controls the air flow of the wind tunnel, making sure the air does not drop the flyer or blow them too high up.

I wait as each person goes on ahead of me, studying his or her flying method to make sure I do not mess up. Finally, it was my turn to go in.

Indoor skydiving feels unlike anything I have ever experienced. Very few words can describe it. Flying is definitely sensational, with every one of my senses woken up. The feeling of flying distracted me from the staring crowds outside the tunnel.

I felt a little nervous at times, scared I might run into the wall or flip over. However, my instructor was in the wind tunnel as well, guiding me through the whole process. Once the flight was over, I was excited to go again a second time.

After our flights, our instructor showed us how indoor skydiving itself can be a sport.

He hopped into the wind tunnel and showed the many tricks he learned, such as flips and nose dives. Scott offered my sister follow-up lessons, where we could learn more advanced tricks. I know I am definitely going in for another flight.

Indoor skydiving is a wondrous experience I think everyone should try. Flying is safe for almost any age: iFly Hollywood has flown people from ages 3 to 103.

Unlike a roller coaster, indoor skydiving does not come with feelings of nausea, dizziness or vertigo. Indoor skydiving is just as incredible as flying in your dreams.