My body leans forward into the rising wind as Travis Valentyne catches me in his waiting and capable arms. The air swirls around me, I quickly begin to catch the updraft and feel the surreal and very jarring sensation of weightlessness. This could be a perfectly orchestrated moment from the latest romantic Hollywood blockbuster, but instead, I’m fearing for my life, Travis is hiding his laughter behind his helmet and beard, while I’m doing my best not to make a fool of myself at iFly Portland.
The iFly experience is a worldwide company (boasting venues even on cruise ships) that offers the chance to feel the wonders of free-falling without the onslaught of the fast-approaching earth. With instructors, who act more like friends with an adrenaline craving, the overall experience is best summed up in one epic word: Bitchin’.
Serving age ranges from three-years-old to a hundred and three, there are only a few limits on who and who can’t fly.
“We have this story of a little girl, about six-years-old who had never spoken a word, she was mute. Her parents brought her to the iFly facility and the smile that beamed across her face spoke louder than words. When she was done, she turned to her instructor and said ‘thank you.'”
Christie Matheis, the iFly Portland General Manager began to detail a few of the genuine life-changing experiences the freedom of flying has opened up.
“We have All-Abilities nights, where everyone can get out and fly. It’s amazing to watch a child, who is in a wheelchair go from feeling bound by obstacles, to flying free with the instructor.”
This is much more than a two-minute team bonding, ice-breaker, solo adventure experience. For those who are too terrified to jump out of plane (like me), it’s the chance to face a fear and be enveloped in the exhilaration of a free fall. For other’s it’s the chance to log some hours and practice technique, but beyond all of that, iFly offers flight. Providing the ideal conditions for students to learn about physics and variables, the STEM Program pairs with iFly forming the perfect spot for kids to see theories played out in front of their eyes for a hands-on experience.
As I write this, I’m still beaming ear-to-ear with the lingering effects of adrenaline coursing through my veins and the memory of what it felt like to hover above the rushing winds. Whether you’re looking for the perfect ice-breaking date, a corporate moment to bolster the team, or simply fiending for a safe way to get your next rush, iFly is a unique and limit-pushing way to literally jump into something new.