My 50th birthday was a blast … literally. I was blasted with 165 mile an hour winds in an indoor skydiving wind tunnel at iFly in Virginia Beach. Considering I was able to rotate in the air and shoot about 50 feet toward the ceiling, I feel it was only right to dub myself, The Flying Indian.

My birthday was Saturday May 6th and I didn’t really know what to expect on my birthday that labeled me as half-a-century old, but I was looking forward to some fun. I woke up to a text for a free cup of coffee which was already great, and after drinking my organic yukon gold, I looked on Twitter to see a plethora of fantastic Happy Birthday messages! Thanks tweeps!

But my fiftieth birthday just kept on giving. What to my delight was trending on Twitter? It was #FreeComicBookDay! Now, as a self-proclaimed and proud #NativeNerd, I was overcome with excitement as I made my way to the local Comic Kings comic book store and got myself a nice big stack of free comic books!

Of course I stopped to pose with Spiderman and the Dark Knight!

The following day, I was invited to spend the day with my wife’s mother Sharon, who looked at me with a smile and said, “Ok, let’s go do the flying thing!” I thought about it for a second and said, “Yes! Let’s do it!” As I arrived at iFly, I felt excited and a bit nervous to be heading into a tunnel with 165 mile an hour winds. It was about fifty bucks for two flights. I also got a free “high-fly” since I came into the shop within seven days of my birthday.

Flight certificate in hand, ICMN's Vincent Schilling became The Flying Indian on his 50th birthday weekend.

Flight certificate in hand, Vincent Schilling became The Flying Indian on his 50th birthday weekend.

We went through a simple class of how to position your body and how to communicate with simple hand signs, then suited up with a jumpsuit, helmet and earplugs. 

Along with about twelve other jumpers, we waited our turn to fly. Jumping into the wind tunnel was like jumping onto a pillow of air. Of course the pillow of air could throw you into the wall with the slightest hand movements. 

It was kind of like when you put your hand outside of a car window to make it fly, but this time it was your whole body. I had two separate flights of one minute each. The second flight included the ‘high-fly’ flight. I was a little shaky the first time around, but the second time felt natural. 

When my instructor gave me the sign the second time around and we shot up into the air, I screamed with a thrill to be The Flying Indian. It was sincerely awesome. One minute may not seem like a long time, but it was longer when you are flying in the air.

It was a true blast, literally and figuratively. It was completely fantastic. I would definitely do it again. It was a great thing to do at half-a-century old. It was a great fiftieth birthday. 

I feel I have earned the title, The Flying Indian.