Fulfill Your Flying Squirrel Fantasies with iFLY Indoor Skydiving

Story by Cassie Hepler, video by Suburban Men

Who hasn’t had a dream of flying? If you haven’t, that’s weird and a bummer. Ever since I was like 5 years old, I would have a consistent dream of being chased through the jungle by a lion, falling off a cliff and stopping short of the bug-like smush on the ground for a good chunk of my youth. As an adult, it morphed into flying yogi cross-legged style through the air always to an old farmhouse. Where this farmhouse exists I have yet to learn however looking forward to finding it someday! Alas, I digress.

But the need to fly through the air with the greatest of ease (and it’s not a trapeze, trust me I had leg bruises for weeks from that experience once), is most certainly becoming a flying squirrel as that is pretty much what you are wearing when you put on your zippered flying zoot suit. A crew of us were on a Visit Phoenix press trip and we had no clue what we were getting into at iFLY in the heart of of Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Entertainment District. Our instructor said we all looked like we were going to our execution after our training class and he wasn’t lying. Everyone’s face was like WTF are we getting ourselves into?

My personal anxiety was because technically I was not supposed to skydive. With almost a full scoliosis fusion in my back, one wrong jerk could jack me up pretty well. Shortly after surgery in 2016, I asked my neurosurgeon back at Jefferson University Hospital if I could skydive. He said if I must, indoor was safer… so when it was on the itinerary I figured fuck it, let’s do this and check it off that bucket list. So fearless, wild and free, I delved in headfirst (literally) as usual and of course, fell in love with flying.

The Pavilions at Talking Stick Shopping Center is a large shopping mall with over 50 retailers, fast food, restaurants and a multiplex movie theater. Submitted Photo

Inside the iFLY building, this is the tube that shoots air around you. The basic first-time flyer package starts at $59.95. Flight packages vary in cost at iFLY based upon the number of flyers, whether you have flown before and how much time you fly. Submitted Photo

For vertical skydiving tubes suck as this one shown above, the air moves upwards at around 120 mph. The high flight normally rises at the highest point somewhere between 10-20 feet above the net within the flight chamber. Most modern wind tunnels offer high flights either as a part of their first-time package or as of the recent past, at an extra charge. Once we all got a little more comfortable with our first flight, we all delved into the high flight for an extra $10. Well worth the fee!

It’s a great trust building experience for children and corporate clients as well. The average weight limit is around 250 pounds. The limit could also depend on the height and how physically in-shape the individual is. Submitted Photo

The first flight was awkward and the tension was high at iFLY indoor skydiving.

You kind of jumped in toward the net on the bottom like Superman or Superwoman in this case with arms out in front and legs loose. The instructor would make hand signals at you to change your arm or leg positioning if you were getting too floppy but I was told my form was good and listened to commands easily. Once I was flying steady, I was all smiles and loved that adrenaline pumping through my veins. I’m pretty sure everyone was hooked at this point!

Cassie Hepler takes her second turn at indoor skydiving at iFLY at The Pavilions at Talking Stick Shopping Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Video by Suburban Men

The second time was certainly a charm and all awkwardness was gone. If you relax into it, it flows effortlessly and I even almost got sucked up to the top by myself. I’m pretty sure if I keep going back, I could do some air moonwalking like the instructors were doing to play around and show off.

This experience would make the most amazing birthday party for people of all ages in Arizona and certainly an experience that people will remember for the rest of their lives! If you’re in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale or anywhere in Arizona, come see how your crew can fly high at iFLY.

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