We officially know what it feels like to fly. We didn’t jump out of a plane, or bungee jump off a crane, we stood on the ground then took flight, just like superman. iFly, an indoor skydiving facility, just opened a location in Westchester. This brand new wind tunnel experience is so cool, if you’re at all curious about skydiving or flying it’s a must do!
Although no one in my party had prior experience with indoor flying, I’ve tried skydiving once and my boyfriend, Monte, is a certified skydiver. Our four year old daughter, Brooklyn, hadn’t tried anything quite like this, so we were curious to see if her enthusiasm would match the reality of actually doing it. Well it was a success and we are all three super fans now. Here’s how the day went:
We each opted for two one minute flights. The second of which was a ‘high’ flight, you pay more but go higher. Once all checked in we were allowed into the main part of the facility which has the wind chamber in the center of the room. The tunnel itself is enclosed in glass so we could see everything going on. We took seats on couches and watched other people fly while waiting for our class to start. A group of professional skydivers happened to be practicing tricks while we waited. It was so cool to see the moves they were doing. They looked like astronauts floating around in space, doing flips, spinning and just having a really good time.
We didn’t wait long until we were called into our class. We met in a room just off the lobby and watched a video, about 5 minutes, followed by instructions from our flight instructor, about another 5 minutes. The basic take away is that body position is key. It’s important to keep your chin up, arms reached in front with elbows bent and legs extended back with knees slightly bent. We also learned hand signals so the instructor could communicate with us to bend, straighten or put our chin up while we were in the chamber. It was so loud in the wind tunnel we couldn’t hear anything so it was important we got familiar with the signals prior.
Once class wrapped we all got jumpsuits, goggles, earplugs and helmets. They also provided free lockers for our belonging.
At this point I was very excited for myself, but a little worried about how Brooklyn would handle the giant blast of air that was about to hit her. When our instructor asked who wanted to go first she jumped right up and volunteered. He stepped into the tunnel first and held her hands as he led her into the chamber. Her face lit up with a gigantic smile when the wind carried her body up and her smile stayed until we left the facility! She LOVED it. The instructor had good control of her and guided her body so she could enjoy the experience. He helped her regain control of her flapping limbs and ensured she stayed safe and always within his reach. One minute felt like a surprisingly long time! When she came out she volunteered me next.
I stepped into the wind tunnel and the instructor took care of me the same way. I was immediately surprised at how different it felt to breath in such a forceful tunnel of wind. It’s like sticking your head out of a car window going 80+ miles an hour. It didn’t quite take my breath away, I just had to make a conscious effort to breath normally. I adjusted quickly and remembered the proper body position. It was an easy and comfortable, although unnatural feeling of flight. It’s such a strong sensation of wind but the goggles keep your eyes protected. I did notice a slight strain in my lower back. It wasn’t bad but I did take notice. If you have any back issues or have ever had a dislocated shoulder this sport/experience is not for you.
As I stepped out I greeted my boyfriend with a huge smile then he took off. He’s experienced at skydiving and confidently had control of his body and enjoyed soaring through the tunnel and experimenting a little. The instructor joined him throughout his flight as well but allowed a little more freedom since Monte had some experience.
And then I realized I had spit and snot all over my face. I was SO embarrassed, I had been standing around smiling at everyone and chatting for several minutes before i realized I looked like a toddler. It was the wind’s fault.
After everyone had a turn it was time for our high flight. This was amazing. My daughter and I each squealed in delight during our turns. We soared much higher than our fist flights and whirled around spinning up to the top of the tunnel then back down. The whole time our arms were linked to our instructor. It was so invigorating and surreal.
Afterwards we unsuited and took a look at the photos their crew took of each of us. We got the photo and video packages and talked about when we could go next. We decided to go to Costco just down the street before heading back to NYC and guess what we found there…discount gift cards for iFly!!! We snagged a few of them, $39 for two flights. We can’t wait to go again.
My boyfriend and I were both a little sore the next day, like we had a good work out. Our daughter said nothing about being sore, maybe she’s just more fit than us. Going into this experience, two one minute flights didn’t really sound like that much. Now looking back, I realize it is. I’d be much sorer if I spent more time in the wind tunnel as it’s quite a work out. Also, the real time to free fall when you go skydiving is less than a minute, so by doing two flights you’re actually doubling what you’d get by jumping out of a plane. With WAY less anxiety taking flight from the floor.
- Do this.
- You can participate as young as 3, their oldest guest was 103!
- Wear shoes with laces, they were able to provide these to two people in our group who didn’t wear them.
- Jumpsuits, helmets, goggles and ear plus are provided.
- Call and make a reservation, don’t just show up and expect to fly. Monday – Thursday there is a lot of availability. Weekends are stacked.
- Do not wear a collared shirt as the collar will whip your neck.
- Wear your hair in a pony tail, braid or pinned back.
- Stretch a little before you get in the tunnel as it truly is an exercise.
- Fill in the waivers online before going to save time.
- Click to watch short video of 4 year old flying.
For those of you wondering if it’s the same as skydiving…it’s really a lot like it. It’s different because you’re not jumping out of a plane and there is no parachute, but the feeling of flight is very similar.