Ever wanted to fly? I’ve wanted to skydive forever. I had high hopes of actually being a paratrooper in the Army, but a knee injury prohibited me from going that route. Over the years, I kept telling myself I was going to go skydiving, and to this day, it still hasn’t happened. However, I did get to go indoor skydiving last week, courtesy of being invited to go flying with iFly Ontario for social media night. What a rush!
What exactly is indoor skydiving? Here’s one of the iFly Ontario experts during his demo.
Chin up, arms forward, legs behind you slightly bent, and keep an eye on your instructor so you can see if he’s signalling. If you’re all good, you’ll get the okay signal. If you need to lift your chin up more, he’ll point upwards with one finger. Need to straighten or bend your legs? Two fingers will signal that.
After your training session, iFly staff — like this fun young man above from iFly Ontario — help you get ready for flight. Once you’re geared up with the provided flight suit, goggles (which do fit over glasses if you choose to leave them on as we did) and a helmet, you are ready to go.
If you have long hair, you’ll want to pull your hair back. I’d recommend a flat, low ponytail with an elastic on the end to prevent tangling as much as possible. I also took off my hoop earrings, but left in my studs. Everyone in that session enters the tunnel’s outer area and lines up on the bench.
One at a time, each person enters the tunnel and is guided into the air by the instructor. Once you’ve gotten your bearings and maintain the proper position, the instructor lets go so you can experience flying entirely on your own. With or without the instructor, the feeling is amazing. The air rushes your face, you move around a little and the idea that air is the only thing between you and the ground is a blast. (Pardon the pun! I couldn’t help it.)
Here are a few videos of the husband and I flying. Each flight was one minute long and the anticipation amongst all of us was palpable. I don’t know if anyone else was nervous, but I know I was a mix of “what if I forget to hold my arms right” and “I want to fly HIGH.”
Two seconds into the tunnel, all fear was gone and all I could think about was that I was flying finally. The sides of the tunnel are all transparent, so other guests can watch and/or take photos. (No cameras are allowed inside the flying tunnel at all. iFly does supply photos and videos taken from the controls area.)
One of questions I was asked after we flew was if we got airsick. No, we didn’t. We ate like normal beforehand and had no issues. The temperature inside the tunnel is climate-controlled at 72 degrees, so we weren’t cold at all either, unlike skydiving from a plane, where you spend 40-50 seconds in a free fall and the air is initially cold.
No need for special clothing as the provided flight suit will keep you comfortable. Close-toed shoes are required, and I would recommend running shoes. Boots would be cumbersome and the flight suit has straps to keep it on your legs fully, so your boots would have to go over the outside. Sneakers will be the easiest and will ensure your shoes aren’t a hindrance. From pre-k and up, everyone can fly!
Partying isn’t just for the kids though. If you’re a corporation looking for a retreat or a business on a team-building excursion, you can rent the conference room. Same rules, bring food or have it catered, and guests that want to can fly. I’d love to talk my employer into doing this!
Once you try it the first time, you can buy repeat guest flying packages. As you learn more, you’ll be able to try harder maneuvers like these.
We’re going to surprise our son with a Friday night kids’ night fly session very soon. For $69.95, the kids get to fly for five minutes after a flight class. Five minutes may not sound like a long time, but even a one-minute flight feels a lot longer than it is. (If you have ongoing physical issues, pay attention to the recommendations and/or restrictions.)
iFly Ontario also offers an all-abilities session 2-4x a year, where children with disabilities or special needs can get into the air. This is such a huge deal to me, because kids with autism or physical limitations frequently don’t get to experience life in the same way that typically-abled people do. For iFly to give kids this opportunity is so amazing. I hope to go to the next one and check it out. I imagine the smiles on those kids’ faces will be huge!
You can read more about the pricing and packages here. They are based on number of flights, and some come with videos and flight certificates like mine.
iFly also offers educational flying programs, which include the physics side of the whole experience and a demo of what happens to various items inside the tunnel. Small squishy toys look like jelly fish floating in an aquarium, and water cannons look like bubbles free floating, except these bubbles splatter into drops when they hit the wall. Simply turn the air back on and it’s dry again!
Are you familiar with STEM? You’ll want to learn more about iFly’s STEM program. Based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it’s a wonderful way to encourage interest in topics that sometimes women may not approach. These fields are critical to the future of the world and we need to continue to provide ways for our children to consider these fields as their career. iFly’s STEM program can help with hands-on full-body learning that is aligned to state standards and geared towards the particular age range of the class. What a fun way to learn, right?
If in doubt, go check it out before you book! I bet you’re going to love it as much as we did! Go flying with iFly Ontario and you can fulfill your dream of flying, too!