Perth Underground dives into the world of iFly
"We have had some phone calls where people ask ‘how tall is the building’ and as you can see it’s not quite 14,000 foot"
Sitting on Great Eastern Highway is a portal to a whole new world - an exhilarating and addictive experience many Perthians have yet to discover.
I am of course talking about iFly Indoor Skydiving, a futuristic three-story building which will change your whole perspective the moment you pass through the doors.
For the team who runs the facility, indoor skydiving is a way of life. With champions like Inka Tiitto and 13-year-old Amy Watson to look to for inspiration - it’s not hard to see why.
We were drawn like moths to a flame when watching the professionals take to the tube - with gigantic fans providing a gentle cushion of controlled air allowing them to weave amongst each other in perfect synchronisation - no longer bound by the constraints of gravity.
But for many, indoor skydiving is a bit of a mystery.
“We have had some phone calls where people ask ‘how tall is the building’ and as you can see it’s not quite 14,000 foot,” jested Harrison Fry, General Manager of iFLY Perth.
“When I first walked in here I thought it was a really cool facility – very futuristic.
“I actually saw the very first flight in this tunnel and I was amazed. It’s so different – all of a sudden they lean into a room and they are floating.
“It’s that gasp when people first rock in, they see the tunnel, they see what its about – there a few nerves, but nerves are good fun here and they always leave with a smile.”
After gearing up and learning the basics of flying from wildly talented flight instructor (and potential future olympian) Jeremy Brazier, we were ready to take the leap.
The rush was unbelievable - the feeling of flying is like nothing else I have ever experienced.
As you lift into the air, adrenaline pulses through your veins, bringing with it a fair hit of endorphins.
From the moment I leaned into the chamber, the smile could not be wiped from my face. You simply cannot leave without trying the High Fly!
The addiction immediately takes hold - leaving you with a craving for more time in the tunnel to experience the weightlessness and refine your flying ability.
Of all the amazing aspects of iFly’s indoor skydiving, my favourite is its accessibility factor.
“We fly ages 3 – 103 and all abilities, it is quite rewarding to see everybody be able to enjoy it,” Harrison said.
“I have flown my 84 year old grandma and I have also personally flown 3-year-olds.
“We also fly people with all abilities. Unfortunately not everybody can walk, but everyone can fly, and that is something that we are really proud of and something that is really special to us.”
An exciting venture on the horizon for the indoor skydivers is the possibility of the sport joining the program of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Skydivers already come together from around the world to compete in events of speed, skill and finesse, but a berth at the Olympic Games would take the sport to the next level.
“We are all hoping for that because it is a great community and a very fun sport,” Harrison said.
“Jeremy Brazier is definitely one of our top flyers and an athlete that would definitely want to go down that route – so everyone keep an eye on Jeremy.”
iFly also plays an important role in training skydivers (the jumping out of a plane kind) correct body positions, safety trips and tricks.
“I got to the point where I was coaching skydivers, and the skydivers asked me how many skydives I had done and I said zero,” Jeremy Brazier laughed.
“They were kind of shocked, so I thought I may as well get into it myself and see what it is all about.”
While he said the experience was similar, there were some obvious differences between the two.
“In the tunnel you can go up and down - in the sky there is no such thing as going up, just falling slower,” he said.
“Essentially it is the same feeling, which is why it is awesome you can do it in a tube like this indoors.
“It’s a surreal feeling to dive into a room and expect to fall in the net and all of a sudden you are floating.
“The big thing about using the tunnel as a tool for training skydiving is you spend a lot of time at a drop zone to get even just a minute of free-fall, whereas in here you can get a 10 minute session, so your progression is much quicker.”
To try Indoor Skydiving for yourself, visit https://www.iflyworld.com.au/locations/perth.