By Selina Tan
A bird’s eye view of flying on Sentosa
One of the few lucky youngsters invited to the soft launch of iFly Singapore, Selina Tan shares what it’s like to be soaring within the world’s leading indoor skydiving simulation.
Before taking flight, the iFly team had the 30 of us holed up in a cosy training room – an imperative step to managing this high-intensity sport safely. Facing the prospect of a temporarily silent world, we were taught to look out for the necessary hand-signs and abide by them accordingly.
“This means chin-up, and when you get the thumbs-up, it means that you’re doing well,” he continued to drum.
I was chuffed.
Flying, albeit within a high-powered infrastructure, seemed like such an implausible notion. When the professional flyers, zipped up in striking suits, started to dart back and forth then up and down in a effortless, seamless fashion, it was all we could do to keep from breaking into raucous applause.
An Athlete’s Thing
Like the majority of students of who had never dreamed up skydiving before, the novelty of simply defying gravity stood out more than its athletic aspect.
And well, it was the first-hand experience that cauterized my foolish train of thoughts. Instead, I learnt the hard way how one’s core muscle strength, coupled with excellent locomotive skills, would come into play while staying afloat.
But the height of the flight is just one exciting part of going airborne.
According to the management team, this tunnel’s wide range of airspeeds enables high-achievers to “execute a variety of movements with ease, such as freeflying, four or eight way skydiving and Vertical Relative work.”
If you’re interested, allow your instructor to explain these extremely foreign terms in greater detail.
At the very basic level, iFly Singapore focuses on honing future skydiving enthusiasts by providing them a platform to gear up on the techniques before introducing a series of advanced acrobatic stunts.
Needless to say, besides the protection of a few layers of ultra-safety nets, the firm, appealing grip of these macho instructors is an inextricable part of the deal.
Was the novice in me scared? Initially, yes, of course.
From bearing with the air diffuser’s humming pressure to overcoming the sheer trepidation of hovering over the ground – arms and legs stretched out at different degrees for maneuvering’s sake, the first minute of flight was daunting.
But once the momentum kicked in, everything started falling into place.
An independent movement, then the coordination of limbs, then finally an awkward spinning motion that scaled the heights of iFly’s cylindrical wind channel. Before I consciously knew it, fear had paled into gradual insignificance.
Or it may just be that there is something in the high-octane nature of this sport which speaks directly to the human’s propensity for unceasing movement: an imprudent desire to soar above our contemporaries and our vision; to rise up to ensuing altitudes.
Well, instead of touching the sky, I got to lay my hands on sides of the 18 feet high acrylic glass, which was quite a bargain in itself, I must say.
In any case, if you are a student whose dream is to let go and somehow elude the dull drudgery of an assignment-ridden life, then iFly Singapore would be the perfect escapism outlet for you.
Challenges are abound, but do walk in expecting immeasurable fun.
For more details on location and timing, visit www.iflysingapore.com.