With locations across the US, Canada, the UK and Asia, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Singapore, the heart-pumping, lip-flapping experience created by iFLY is something that you truly have to experience for yourself!
It was 8am when we arrived to the impressive iFLY building located next to a famous Amy’s Ice Creams, make note for your visit 😉 The cleanliness and quality of the facility calmed any butterflies we had about our upcoming flight, and the awesome jumbo screen out front, which showed videos of past “iFLY-ers,” made us even more excited!
With state-of-the-art technology everywhere we looked, we were in awe. Upon greeting us, the friendly and knowledgeable staff checked us in and instructed us to fill out the electronic waivers. Using a touch screen, it was as quick and easy of a process as possible, and before we knew it we were on our way to attend our short training lesson and get suited up!
Thomas, or Bonsai as we liked to call him, did a great job teaching us the techniques and hand signals we would be using inside the wind tunnel to communicate. With over 150 outdoor skydiving jumps under his belt, we all felt ready to put our experience in his hands and inside that wind tunnel!
Having each been skydiving before, Drew and I were both aware that the Vertical Wind Tunnel (VWT) experience would be completely different. Used for years by the military and professional skydivers as a way to train without having to go up in airplanes, a VWT creates a cushion of air inside the flight chamber which allows you to float!:
Fun fact: The wind used to set you afloat is generated from above, not below! Powerful, high-efficiency axial fans are mounted in the upper leg of the tunnel and the wind is channeled and directed down the sides and underneath the flight chamber, then up through the floor, lifting flyers into the air! The air then travels through the top of the flight chamber, and the cycle begins again. Cool right?! You can read more about the science behind it here.
We did the “Spread Your Wings for Two” package, which allows 2 flights per person. The first flight was a chance for us to try out our new wings for the first time. Bonsai helped us get a feel for our form and find balance in being supported by the wind circulating around us, which can reach speeds of approximately 130 to 175+ mph! The tunnel operator controls the windspeed based on the flyer’s weight and skill level.
Not only was having our own flight experience a blast, but watching each other’s faces and seeing how high the other could fly was just as fun! Luckily photos and videos were included in our “Spread Your Wings for Two” package so we could see just how ridiculous, I mean skilled, we looked for each other 🙂
When it came time for our second flights, we opted for the “high flight” option, which was definitely the highlight of our experience. As we entered the chamber, our instructor held onto the handles on the side of our suits and started to spin us around. Gaining speed, we eventually shot up 35 feet in the air, flying down and back up 3 times! With a huge smile plastered on our faces, it was as if someone had sprinkled us with fairy dust! THIS is truly what it must feel like to fly.
To get the full iFLY experience, we highly recommend the “high flight” option. Our first flight was great to get a feel for things, but it mostly felt like we were floating weightlessly, suspended in the air. To see the full effect you MUST watch our mind, cheek and hair blowing video below:
At the end of our flights Bonsai awarded each of us with a personalized flight certificate, both of which are hanging on the wall in our van as we speak!
- Bring a camera to take photos outside of the wind tunnel, they won’t come out nearly as clear as the iFLY photos, but it’s still fun to try.
- Tie your hair back and down in the best way possible. I had my hair in a low pony and it was in knots for the rest of the day. Thankfully they have a ton of hair bands on supply if you forget like me 🙂
- Wear sneakers, it’s pretty much required.
- No jewelry, with your hands flapping all over the place it’s just safer for all parties.
- Stay calm. Your instructor is highly experienced and the iFLY facility is extremely safe. You are in very good hands and your only job is to spread your wings and enjoy 🙂