Adam Hzab couldn’t get enough of indoor skydiving.
Hzab, 15, a student at Trinity High School, decided to spend his winter break in the U.S. rather than visit his parents in Egypt. That gave him a chance to check out skydiving at iFLY Fort Worth, which opened recently in Hurst.
Hzab and 13 other students from the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district were chosen for the skydiving experience for their good grades and attendance. He said he wants to study engineering, and the experience of flying makes solving equations more fun, he said.
“I felt so happy,” he said after finishing his first indoor skydiving lesson. “It was such a feeling of freedom.”
Dalworth Restoration in Euless, Dalworth Clean and the nonprofit organization 6 Stones worked together to provide the opportunity for students who can’t afford indoor skydiving, which starts at $70 for two minutes in the wind tunnel.
Josh Hobbs, chief information officer for Dalworth Restoration, said the companies look at how well the students are doing in school.
“We wanted to work with kids who are doing well but have some odds against them,” he said.
Before the students could enter the wind tunnel, they sat down for a lesson that included a discussion of how flying and indoor skydiving incorporate the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.
Skydiving instructor Andy Alexaitis, who also coordinates the STEM education discussions at iFly, talked to the students about how learning to skydive can make physics and math fun.
Alexaitis, who graduated from L.D. Bell High School in 2011, was an instructor at the iFly in Seattle before moving back to North Texas.
They discussed wind tunnels and safety and delved into the concept of terminal velocity, the point at which drag and gravity cancel each other for a falling object.
Skydiving “can really motivate them in school by having fun,” he said.
Jennifer Muirhead, who teaches environmental systems at Trinity High School. said having the chance to experience indoor skydiving will help her students — especially the girls — learn about career opportunities they may not have considered.
“We are exposing them to a higher level of learning. Now, math and science will be fun,” she said.
When the students put on their helmets and jumpsuits to experience skydiving for the first time, the excitement was overwhelming.
Jennifer Parra, 17, a senior at Trinity High, said she never thought about skydiving but decided to try it.
“It was the best experience I ever had,” she said. “I was so nervous. It was so awesome just to be able to do it.”
Nisha Dalal, a senior at L.D. Bell High, said she loves the thrill of roller coasters and wanted to experience skydiving.
“I’m definitely going to jump out of a plane,” she said. “I loved the thrill of being weightless and the air coming at me.”
Dalal said she wants to pursue a career in neuroscience or physics.
“It was kind of magical,” she said.