January 17, 2017
Wind tunnels are all about unlimited possibilities. They give us ambulatory animals the freedom to fly without wings, teaching us to conquer our fears, to communicate in new ways, and to work together toward a common goal. On top of these essential life lessons, it can even provide a job! For instance, ever wanted to be a stunt double on TV? All those minutes and hours in the wind tunnel have prepared you more than you may realize!
It may be no surprise that when searching for kids to perform stunt work, a Canadian casting agency pulled into iFLY Toronto looking for daring and talented young flyers. Queue… Matthew Ortlieb and Malachi DeAth, competitive flyers on one of iFLY Toronto’s Junior teams, the Air Devils.
Matthew started flying in June of 2014, when he went to the tunnel for a birthday party. Soon after, he signed up for the Wind Tunnel Training Program, then joined the Kids Club, and began flying competitively. He has now attended 5 competitions, with 3 gold and 2 bronze medals to his name.
Malachi, more commonly known as Chewie, began flying as the result of excelling in another area – school. As a reward for good grades, his family took him to iFLY Toronto. His dance, ski, and wake surf background contributed to his fast progression in the wind, where he has now earned 2 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals.
Now, not all medals are created equal. Matthew and Chewie competed in 4way FS at the 2016 World Cup at Flyspot Poland. Their respective first and third place finishes are what earned the boy’s media attention.
In August of 2016, while training for the World Cup, Matthew and his team were featured as Athlete of the Week on CityNews, a local Toronto television broadcasting network.
Then in October, while at the World Cup, he was again interviewed, both on his own and with his team, by personality Regan Tetlow. Like a domino effect, these interviews were noticed by casting agents for a new kid’s game show.
Matthew had already completed some stunt work earlier in the year, doing some flying for a kids educational TV show (episode is set to be released in the Spring). Chewie, too, has already been featured in a music video and as the choice performer to fly in a popular local news program. Now both boys have been selected from the game show casting call to appear in what is described as “American Ninja Warriors meets Power Rangers in Space”. They were quickly picked up for their talent and personalities, the casting agents feeling confident picking decorated athletes. That’s right, these boys are getting paid because they can fly.
Of course, getting television-famous won’t stop them from continuing to dominate the Indoor Skydiving podium. You can expect to see the boys competing in 4way FS as half of the Air Devils at several meets this year: the Canadian team selection in February, the IBA Indoor Skydiving Competition at iFLY Virginia Beach, the IBA Indoor Skydiving Competition at iFLY Phoenix, and quite possibly, the 2017 World Championships at SkyVenture Montreal.