AMS Experience Flying at iFly!

Recently, our AMS physics and mathematical methods students took part in an excursion to iFly indoor skydiving at Surfers Paradise. Through extraordinary demonstrations using different shaped balls, students learned about Newton’s three laws of motion and how gravity and air resistance (drag) produce a net force, which leads to a constant velocity (terminal velocity).

Each student was then given the opportunity to try out indoor skydiving and learn that maintaining stable flight is more difficult than it looks. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves, while gaining extensive knowledge about the principles of free-fall motion!

See below to hear more about this incredible experience, direct from one of our AMS Students!

We get to school. 8.12am. The weather was a bit chilly, but the AMS kids are strong and could withstand it in shorts. The volleyball kids are volley balling in the quad. Suddenly, class begins… but not for us. We head to the beautiful green (fake) grass of our beloved orange quad and pop a squat. We sit there for a very long time. Hours pass. BUT! The bus finally arrives at around 8.45am. maybe. I’m not sure. I’m a great, law-abiding student and didn’t take my phone out to check the time. We clamber on, excitement rising. It’s an oddly composed bus; one none of us had ever seen before. It’s seats were on a slant with a linear gradient of around ½. Pretty crazy. We drive for an unknown amount of time because all of us were yapping and unaware of the passage of time, but eventually we get there. Surfers Paradise.

It truly was a paradise. We pull up and hop out – not at the afterparty – but right outside of the iFly institution itself. However, due to our respectful, responsible learning policy, we walked all the way the road to a pedestrian crossing, and walked all the way back. 

We hike up a narrow set of stairs, labelled with increasingly higher altitudes. I laughed. How could they be so stupid. We walked up like 50 steps. There is no way we could have suddenly been at 12,000ft… And then we saw it.

The flight tunnel was upright and composed of hard glass. Sadly I did not record the chemical composition of it, but I assume it probably had a really high hardness of 100HV or something like that. There are men in the tube with skydiving suits. They look like they’re about to ride a motorcycle after surfing in a wetsuit (they had helmets so their faces didn’t get messed up by the wind). We are told to take a seat. We sit there for almost an hour, mesmerised by the instructors practicing catching each other. It was truly inspiring. Snapping us out of our trance, we are brought to a teeny tiny room to be debriefed with the physics of flying and told how shy we are. Little did the man debriefing us know, we were just being respectful and responsible while learning. The man reveals he had completed over 10,000 flights – clearly presenting himself as an expert in the field. After learning some very cool things, the front two rows volunteer to take flight first. Truly a courageous move.

We are ushered out of the tiny room and plonked back into the waiting and watching area. The brave volunteers (except me because I wasn’t in the first two rows), were taken to suit up into their flying garb, and the rest of us returned to our comatose state watching the instructors in the tube. 

Then they stop so they can do some experiments before we fly to our doom. Two balls differing in surface area and weight are placed inside – and to our complete surprise and utter surprise – the lighter one takes off first.

The team emerges in slow-mo, triangle formation, helmets tucked under arms and goggles primed and ready. Orange was scattered in the sea of blue fabric. Embarrassing photographs and videos are organised with a hug and a smooch as if they were going to space and have a high chance of never coming back (it was extremely safe). The first person steps into the tube. We solute the brave lad – the courageous, unique, nervous and talented fellow. And he flies.

He soars around the tube in an X formation with his limbs akimbo to his body. His centre of gravity leaning toward the ground. It brought a tear to our eyes. But mostly because we came to the collective realisation as a group that our faces are heavily distorted and deformed within the tube of embarrassment.

Each person flies with semi-okay form. The other groups are sent to gear up and lock in. to rub it in our faces, after each group is completed, the instructor does some crazy tricks in the tube.

And then… it’s my turn. I’m one of the first in my group. Tension is high in the tube. It’s almost like there is a massive fan in pushing air into a tube connected to the waiting area. I am called, and I take my place in the doorway. I breathe in. And I fall forwards.

Honestly, even though it’s crazy when you think about flying, and the idea of being held up by the air, when it actually happens you don’t remember how it feels. It wasn’t an epiphany moment, because I was too busy trying to breathe. It was really really hard to breathe. 50 seconds pass, and I soar around the tube pretty well. Humbly well of course. I step out of the tube and my sinuses are clear and my hair is matted and knotted.

All the kids have a turn and then we leave :).

But the best part of the day was the fact that the buses were not waiting for us on the other side of the street. The bus that picks us up is, again, unlike anything humanly possible. It’s a double decker bus but it’s only one deck but super high up. To the classes distain, myself and my friend get the front seats, which are seated in front of a massive window. There’s a TV but it’s off so we didn’t get to watch the hit film Finding Nemo.

We get back to school and we are instantly dejected because we are no longer in iFlybeing hypnotised and probably fed subliminal messages.

In conclusion, iFly was an amazing experience that utilised our physics and maths knowledge in a fun, waver-signed, activity that embarrassed us to our bones and ensured we all bring our own full coverage helmets next time. Please let there be a next time.
Remember party people: be respectful, be responsible and be a learner.
See you next time, from your favourite journalist,

Honora 🙂