All ability flight offers a man the chance to soar

All Abilities Night at iFLY is a unique event that makes the dream of flight a reality for those in the special needs community.

TAMPA, Fla. - Derek Felix was just 16 years old when a football injury left him in a wheelchair.

But today, for a couple adrenalin pumping minutes, Derek won't need that wheelchair, he’ll be too busy flying.

Felix is participating in his first ever all abilities flight at the indoor skydiving facility, iFLY Tampa.
iFLY holds special flights once a month, for those with physical and mental barriers.

Unlike tradition skydiving, indoor skydiving does not require an airplane. A vertical wind tunnel is used to keep the flier in the air.

Safety is always a top priority, especially with the All Abilities Flight. Only highly rated flight instructors, that can handle the flier's specific needs, are used.

“We go over all of the medical concerns that could arise, but once everything is all set, all the waivers are all signed, they’re all about it and we make it happen, and it’s some of the most powerful stuff you’ll see," said Felix's instructor Drew Hensen.

Hensen helped Felix out of his wheelchair and into the wind tunnel. There, with the assistance and a second instructor, the team flew off the ground.

For Felix, it was an indescribable experience.

“I was just completely, just in the air. I don’t know how to explain it. I never thought I would be able to do something like that," Felix said. "I knew things like this were around but I didn’t think it was possible for someone like me to do it. “

Felix now says he’s ready to see what else is possible.

iFly Tampa host their All Ability Flights the last Wednesday of the month. Reservations are required to ensure they have enough staff on hand.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment