I believe I can fly. Well, I did fly a couple weeks ago at iFly in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. I had heard about iFly – an indoor skydiving facility – before, but, I didn’t know it would be so soon that we would have one this close to us. I was eager to check it out for myself. I know that even though I think I’m a little adventurous, I don’t think I would ever jump out of a plane to skydive for real.
Tim bought me a session for an early Mother’s Day gift. So, I’m going to share what I thought you should know before sky diving with iFly. I will tell you that I did have to gain up the nerves prior to flying.
The wind tunnel is the same caliber used by professional skydivers to practice their skills. We saw some people practicing these skills whil I waited for my session group to be called. Instead of the instructor and the flyer, we saw groups of three to four true skydivers flying at once in a circle. It seemed magical watching them fly in the tunnel. This is the closest you’ll get to skydiving without jumping out of a plane.
Make sure to make a reservation. Right now they are still new and pretty popular in the Kansas City area. If it tells you anything, we drove 3 hours to experience it. Others have it on their list, too. In my flight group, a father and daughter celebrated her birthday with dives. I got the basic “Earn Your Wings” package, which most in my group had as well. This package includes two flights for a person. They have several packages to choose from.
You will need to arrive about an hour prior to your reserved flight time. You may think it’s a long wait, but it flies by,as there are steps to take before you “jump.”
Upon arriving at the facility, check-in. You can save a few minutes (as I did) by completing your waiver online. You can check-in by swiping the credit card you used for your reservation or scanning your license at one of the kiosks. Head to the counter to get your bracelet, which is your ticket to fly.
Now you’re set to wait until your group time is called. Yes, I said group. You will be called along with everyone else that has the same reservation time. It was not long before my time was called and we were welcomed into a room to get our pre-flight instructions. An experienced flight instructor will walk you through the position that will ensure you have the best flying experience. You’ll want to pay attention, so you can be high-flying in no time.
Time to get into your flight suit and accessories. You’ll be given a suit, ear plugs, helmet and goggles. Once you are all suited up (reminds me of Barney on How I Met Your Mother), you get some last-minute directions and wait for the group in front of you to finish their flying time.
Time to Fly
Each flier gets two flights. Your instructor leads you into the wind tunnel. You enter in the order that you will fly in. So, if you want to watch people before you go, perhaps try to land yourself in the middle or toward the end of the group. You sit on a bench, watching and cheering on your fellow fliers. I was the very last in my group to go.
So, I thought I would get to see what others were doing well or not so well. In the end it probably didn’t matter. I just had to remember what the instructor told us to do and things would fall into place.
It was finally my turn for my first flight. I walked toward the door of the tunnel. You basically fall into it and the wind almost does the rest. I said almost. The instructor leads you during the flight by tweaking your position and letting go if you are truly flying on your own. The flight lasts the total of one minute, as you fly between the instructor’s knees and nose. I remember concentrating on my position, as well as looking around and just taking in the experience. I was also trying to give somewhat of a smile knowing Tim was taking pictures. That was more challenging than it sounds. Once the minute was up, I was led out of the tunnel door. Giving high fives to my fellow fliers, I made my way back to my seat.
Now for the second flight, I paid the extra $10 for the high flight. This means that after getting into flight position for the second flight, one of the instructors takes you flying to the top of the wind tunnel – about 100 feet. This was so worth it. That was probably the best part of the whole experience. I truly felt like I was flying, as we went up and down in the tunnel.
After everyone in the group has completed both flights, your instructor wants their turn. Our instructor showed off a few moves of his own. It gives you an idea that if you decided to continue practicing your flying you could get to do tricks too.
Earned Your Wings
After each person has gone through both flights, time to debrief. OK, really it was time to turn everything back in and get your flight certificate. Your instructor offers you a promotion to come back. The one that was offered when I was there was pretty tempting as it was double the flight time for the same cost as was paid for this one. They have packages to get you to the point that you can work on tricks.
You can buy a remembrance of your experience. They shoot video and pictures of your flight. The pricing for these items are very reasonable, at only a little more than $8 for the video and about $4 for a photo. One thing that I liked was that the instructor was not hard selling anything. They also have merchandise available.
I know if you are like me, I need to see what it’s like for myself to see if I could be adventurous enough to do it. So, here’s a video of my second flight where I go to the top of the wind tunnel.
Are you ready to fly? Make your reservation today at one of the iFly locations in the United States or one of their international spots. If there isn’t one near you now, it may not be long, as they are adding new locations.