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Tunnel Kids: Casper and Conner

Written by Laura Wagner

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What’s that? You have kids? Sign them up! Registration is open until October 1st & many tunnels are offering great deals!

The National Kids Competition is coming in October and we couldn’t be more excited for it! This event will be the first of its kind and is sure to be incredible. Leading up to the competition we are highlighting various teams as they train. Casper and Conner are twins from Austin, TX that have been flying for 2 years. These kids are a force to be reckoned with. Read on for Casper & Conner’s interview – but first a quick chat with their parents!

Parents: 
Q: What first brought you & your family to the wind tunnel?
A: At the suggestion of a friend we took a family trip to the tunnel. We had a blast and were still grinning about it hours later.

Q: And what is it that made you return?
A: When I went to leave a review on your website I noticed the Kid’s Club section and asked the boys if they would like to participate and, as you probably know, they responded with a resounding yes. We went weekly that first summer treating it as kind of summer camp. I had planned to cut back to only on special occasions once school restarted but missed it so much that we at least tried to attend a couple of sessions a month. I didn’t imagine at the time that it would become such a permanent part of our lives and an aspect we enjoy so much.

Q: What is your favorite thing about watching your children fly?
A: Pretty much everything. we get a kick out of how far they have advanced and enjoy interacting with the staff [You all rock by the way] and other club parents. It is definitely a lot more thrilling to watch then a soccer or little league game [nothing against those sports]. I also love to hear the comments of other customers, both skydivers and the general public, who see them fly for the first time.

Q: How has the sport of indoor skydiving affected your children?
A: It’s made their college fund a lot lighter. [Ha you can strike that one if you want to]. They are in advanced Math and Science at their school and they love the physics of the tunnel and the science of body-flight. I can think of nothing but positives, physical and mental, that moving forward in this sport has brought them. Who knows if they get a degree in engineering they may be designing iFly facilities one day.

Casper & Conner’s Interview

Q:How old are you and what grade are you in?
A: We are 14 years old [twins] and are in the 9th grade but take 10th grade Pre-AP Math and Pre-AP Science.

Q: Do you play any other sports?
A: We started a Cavers Club [spelunking] last year and enjoy swimming and running but Tunnel Flying is our main sport. Outside of the tunnel our main hobby is guitar [mostly rock but a little bit country too]. At school this year we are in a class called Rock Band [we had to audition for it last year].

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in the wind tunnel?
A: Definitely dynamic flying, working on our routines and Freefly. We are enjoying learning the FS moves but are anxious to get back to progressing on the head-down flying and working on our layups.

Q: If you could fly with anyone in the world what would it be?
A: We had the opportunity to fly with some of the Red Bull Air Force when they were in Austin and would definitely love to do it again.

Q: How are you feeling about competing against kids all over the country? Excited, nervous?
A: We are feeling a combination of excitement and nervousness about the competition. Since this will be our first competition we are nervous about how we will perform or what we will be up against.

Q: What are your long-term goals for indoor skydiving? Where do you see the sport taking you?
A: We would both love to work part-time for iFly when we are old enough and while we attend college. Ultimately we want to become elite dynamic flyers and world-class FS and VFS competitors. Whatever the future holds we want to keep this sport as part of our lives.

Q: Are you interested in actual skydiving, once the time comes?
A: Casper: Of course! I haven’t always been interested in jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, however after experiencing what I have in the tunnel, I would definitely be willing to. We went to Vermont with my cousins this past summer to watch them jump, unfortunately though I was under the age limit.
A: Conner: Though it never occurred to me that leaping out of an airplane and plummeting to the ground and watching it get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, until throwing a parachute would be fun in any way, I actually have thought of skydiving before. Initially, this thought was met with great fear, entertained only by adrenaline and the thought of wind rushing past me. But as I grew to love indoor skydiving so much, it became more of a reality. My brother and I received the opportunity to fly with the Red Bull air force (they put the sky in diving), and this somewhat amplified my courage of one day mastering the art of patient falling (skydiving). This summer (2015), I got the opportunity to watch my cousins skydive. Tangibly seeing this made the flight seem more real, more precious, and considerably less horrifying. Considering all of this, I am hoping and looking forward to skydiving on my 18th birthday!

Q: What do your friends/classmates think about your flying?
A: Casper: To answer this question, you have to think about what my friends thought of me before I was a tunnel-flyer. I have always been considered a big “nerd” and on some occasions a “dork”. I love science and math, and this sport is as close as athletics comes to those two concepts. Now, back to the original question, it’s kind of cut into two groups. There are some of my friends who consider the sport that I do as “awesome”, and “one of the coolest things”. However, there are others who get tired of my ‘over-enthusiasm’ to jumping into a vertical wind-tunnel. A lot of people would rather do other things like soccer and football, however I can’t see where on Earth (or in the atmosphere for that matter) they could see those sports as superior. In the end, however, I believe that most people see this sport as a good match for me and my interests.
A: Conner: My friends and my classmates view my flying in one of two ways: They either think we are crazy, or they think we are so blessed to be able to do what we do. I typically gravitate to those who view it as a blessing! I bring my sport into everything I do, be it school projects, simple conversation, even introductions to new people. Almost everyone in my grade is familiar with our hobby. Unfortunately, due to the youth of this sport, it is not well-known, and I am met with much confusion whenever discussing it with my companions from time to time. In the end, I would say the overall reaction my friends take to my sport would be something along the lines of “WOW, that is cool!”

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