by Katie Dominguez ‘20 (Immaculata House)
Do you know what it feels like to jump out of a plane? Do you know what it feels like to fly? Most people answer “no” to those questions, however, after last Wednesday, Trinity physics students can answer “yes.” Trinity’s physics classes attended a field trip to the iFly Indoor Skydiving Facilities in Baltimore, Maryland, where we enjoyed an experience of a lifetime. iFly allows its participants to suit up and “skydive” in an indoor flight chamber using air moving at high speeds to keep a person safely floating. The experience mimics the feel and fun of actually skydiving without the intense 12,500 foot drop!
After a presentation about the actual physics and technology of the vertical wind tunnel, which expanded on the pressure and terminal velocity lessons we learned in physics class, we were given the “wings” that would help us fly, which included a flight suit, a helmet, goggles, and earplugs. The flight instructors then taught us the various hand signals we would need to communicate during the flight, as the fast wind flow creates such loud noise that it is nearly impossible to talk to each other in the flight chamber. For example, in the flight chamber, an upside down peace sign meant that we needed to straighten our legs to achieve the ideal flying position and another hand signal used by surfers meant that we needed to relax, breathe, and enjoy the ride.
Then, it was time to fly. We were feeling excitement about the upcoming flight as we entered the chamber, and nervous grins were explicit on everyone’s faces as we took our seats. One by one, we entered the vertical wind tunnel and experienced the thrill of skydiving, floating on our stomachs with nothing between ourselves and the ground. I chose the “high-fly” option, which meant I flew about fifteen feet above the ground and spun in circles, accompanied by the flight instructor, an experience that was absolutely exhilarating. My peers excitedly high-fived me after the flight. After experiencing iFly, I would highly recommend it as a way to experience flying without the added risks of actually skydiving. It is a sensation like no other!