Chandler mom-son team flying high - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler mom-son team flying high

May 29th, 2018 development
Chandler mom-son team flying high

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor


Spirits are high for a Chandler woman and her 13-year-old son, who soared above the competition at a national indoor skydiving contest.

Mary Traub and her son, Nick Traub-Finley, won the gold medal for the 2-Way VFS Rookie division at iFLY Virginia Beach National Competition earlier this month.

At the indoor skydiving event, pairs had to fly in certain formations, sometimes connecting with their partners, as quickly as they could.

With indoor skydiving, fans at the top of a vertical wind tunnel draw air through the flight chamber and then push it back down the sides through what are known as return air towers.

The result is a smooth column of air that lets people fly. Fliers wear helmets, ear plugs and jumpsuits; some also wear gloves.

Traub and her son were the only mother-son team at the national event. After signing up Nick in the iFLY’s Scottsdale location last September, Mary spotted her son’s natural ability and wanted to take his talent to a higher level.

A former outdoor skydiver who made about 3,000 jumps, Mary asked Spencer Labunski of the iFLY in Scottsdale, who had been instructing her son and other youths, if he could coach her and her son for the national competition.

Labunski said “yes,” and Mary and Nick had about three weeks to prepare for the competition.

“It was kind of my Mother’s Day gift,” Mary said. “Nick had asked me what do I want for Mother’s Day…and I said, ‘I’d really like to compete in nationals.’ We went to Spencer and he didn’t even bat an eye. He just said, ‘Let’s do it.’ We developed a plan. It was a lot of fun.”

Mary said Nick, a seventh-grader at San Tan Charter School in Gilbert and a straight-A student, kept his cool at the national competition.

They and the other competitors in each round had 35 seconds of time to do a sequence and repeat it as many times as possible.

For example, in one, they might both have to fly on their backs and grab their partner’s legs or hands. They had six rounds to perform the acrobatics in the air.

“Our last round was our very best,” Mary said. “We flew that one the fastest. It was just a lot of fun. Our goal was not to win, our goal was just to have fun, to fly clean, do everything correctly.”

Mary and Nick, who were called “Arizona Double Trouble,” was thrilled to take home gold medals.

A tax advisor, Mary, 55, said it is great to have a sport she can compete in with her son. Competing in the indoor skydiving is a great way for teenagers to develop non-verbal communication skills like reading someone’s feelings or thoughts, she said.

“He’s such a good flyer,” Mary said. “He’s much better than I am. I just love the way he had such a good attitude for the whole meet. I was so proud of him. Standing on the podium with him, that was just a dream come true.”

iFLY’s Flight School is a way for youths ages 4 to 16 to experience flight.


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