I have wanted to skydive for as long as I can remember.
In 2009, I researched doing it for my birthday.
I spoke with a coordinator at Skydive Space Center in Florida, and he mailed me an informative CD and a followup email with the subject line, "Becca-You Are Going To Have The Thrill Of Your Life."
Alas, for whatever reason, that's as far as I got. The opportunity never magically presented itself after that.
However, the next best thing just did.
A few months ago, I learned that an indoor skydiving facility was under construction near the new Atlanta Braves stadium.
I watched as iFLY Atlanta, which uses a wall-to-wall vertical wind tunnel in a flight chamber to simulate a freefall skydiving experience, got closer to completion.
Then came the day when iFly began booking flights, and I was invited to experience it for myself.
I arrived at 2778 Cobb Parkway, signed my life away and came face-to-face with what immediately reminded me of the tunnel Charlie and his grandpa get sucked up into in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" — even though there wasn't a spinning blade at the top.
The preparation is similar to that at other recreational and fitness facilities, such as rock climbing: you watch a short video, suit up, receive what feels like must be too few instructions and then it's go time.
Here are some of my takeaways during two, 60-second sessions:
- The goal is to control your body position so you can be stable on your own, but it's comforting that there's really no way to "mess up." The instructor never leaves your side, and your natural impulses will keep you from nosediving or somersaulting out of control. It's automatic, like floating in water, and I never felt unsafe.
- Choose the high flight option. If you don't, you won't go much higher than the instructor's shoulders. The high flight allows the instructor to leave the ground too, bringing you up high and back down. It took the experience to the next level.
- It is not skydiving. People will be quick to point this out. However, it has benefits for skydivers (they can reserve blocks of time to practice doing tricks to make the most out of the real thing), potential skydivers (if you don't enjoy this, you likely won't enjoy the real deal) and people who are too afraid to skydive (this is a less scary option; even three-year-old children can do this). In other words, I'd recommend it to nearly anyone.
For me, the experience solidified the desire to jump out of a plane one day. It was exhilarating, got my adrenaline pumping and simply felt amazing. But until then, it's nice to know there's another option in Cobb County.
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