Moving Picture: Naperville indoor skydiving instructor shares 'gift of flight'

  • Jaquez Lipscomb takes flight with the help of instructor Bailey Engel at iFLY indoor sky diving facility in Naperville.

    Jaquez Lipscomb takes flight with the help of instructor Bailey Engel at iFLY indoor sky diving facility in Naperville. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • iFly instructor Bailey Engel of Naperville takes to the winds of the tunnel.

    iFly instructor Bailey Engel of Naperville takes to the winds of the tunnel. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • iFly instructor Bailey Engel of Naperville teaches a class showing students basic maneuvers before they fly in the tunnel.

    iFly instructor Bailey Engel of Naperville teaches a class showing students basic maneuvers before they fly in the tunnel. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • AT DAILYHERALD.COM/MORE: Now Engel is the teacher, here helping Detavionna Rodriguez, 14, of Chicago.

    AT DAILYHERALD.COM/MORE: Now Engel is the teacher, here helping Detavionna Rodriguez, 14, of Chicago. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • iFLY instructor Bailey Engel, left, holds onto Chance Elmore of Naperville during a high flight in the tunnel.

    iFLY instructor Bailey Engel, left, holds onto Chance Elmore of Naperville during a high flight in the tunnel. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • iFly instructor Bailey Engel lets a student fly in the tunnel as others waiting their turn look on.

    iFly instructor Bailey Engel lets a student fly in the tunnel as others waiting their turn look on. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted8/6/2015 5:30 AM

A typical job for a recent high school graduate might include folding T-shirts at a clothing store, serving up lattes at a coffee shop or flipping burgers at a fast food joint. But Bailey Engel teaches people to fly -- through indoor sky diving.

"Sharing the gift of flight is definitely a special thing," the 20-year-old Naperville resident said.

 

Engel didn't know anything about sky diving or indoor sky diving before checking out the indoor sky diving experience, iFLY, when it opened in July 2014 in Naperville. iFLY provides the rush of sky diving with aerial free-falls in a vertical wind tunnel.

Engel was so impressed with what he saw that he applied for the job of tunnel instructor and flew in the tunnel for the first time on the same day. He started as an instructor two months later and went through the instructor training program.

In the three-week program, he would spend 40 hours a week training. Four to five hours would be spent in the tunnel each day preparing for more complex situations.

He has learned through his training how to keep clients as safe as possible, especially those doing more advanced indoor sky diving moves.

Engel is one of the youngest instructors in the Chicago area. He was born and raised in Naperville and is a graduate of Neuqua Valley High School in 2013.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I have a bit of a different perspective being so young," he said. "It's just a really cool, unique experience for me."

He has been in his job for nine months and is moving his way up in experience. There are four levels for the instructors and Engel is at level two. As he moves up in the levels, he can take more advanced fliers in the tunnel.

Sessions start off with a class, where he teaches students hand signals, body positions, and things to do and not to do. This is his first job teaching others, and he enjoys the experience.

"I never thought I would be in a position to teach others anything, let alone flying, he said. He is able to teach all ages from very young children to senior citizens. He has even worked with people who have disabilities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Indoor sky diving has led Engel to make actual sky diving jumps. As of this spring he has made seven jumps. His plans for the future are to keep flying and teaching at iFLY and to continue making sky diving jumps.

He can sum up his job with a few words.

"This job has changed my life. It's just awesome to see, really, how cool my job is. It's exciting."

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.