It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s your kid! Yes, really — that’s your kid flying! The world’s largest indoor skydiving operation, iFly, has landed in Lincoln Park. Read on to learn how Chicago’s latest fun zone recreates the awesomeness of skydiving minus the scary jumping out of the airplane part. Slip into those flight suits and soar like an eagle!
What is Indoor Skydiving?
iFLY is home to an incredible flight chamber: this 12-foot diameter wind tunnel is powered by four quiet and clean running electric motors and amazingly simulates true freefall conditions, recreating the wind effects of actual skydiving. Indoor skydiving, also known as Bodyflight, is a growing sport for many and a fun adventure for everyone.
How It Works
It’s so easy to fly with iFLY there isn’t much training involved. One of iFLY’s flight and safety instructors will give your kid a short rundown of the basics of indoor skydiving. Then it’s time to get decked out in official flight gear, including goggles, helmet and a brightly colored, special flight suit which will make your kids feel like the real deal. When it’s time to fly, your kid, together with an instructor, will be gently guided into the wind chamber. The instructor will be suited up and by your kid’s side the entire time. Supported by a cushion of air, your kid will seemingly float in the flight chamber. If your kid is flying with friends or family, they will all be part of the same group; however, only one person flies at a time in the flight chamber, one-on-one with an instructor.
A circle of seating and a clear wind tunnel make this a fun viewing experience for everyone, even those not participating. The iFLY instructors periodically perform their super-cool stunts.
How Long Are Kids in the Air?
Each flight last about 60 seconds (compared to the 45 seconds of freefall in true skydiving). If you reserve a package that contains two flights, you can take two turns in the wind tunnel with an instructor, each lasting 60 seconds each. Some packages include double-length flights which lasts double the time at a reduced cost. The entire iFLY first-time flyer experience takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from start to finish.
After your flight, your instructor will lead you out of the flight chamber. Everyone receives a personalized flight certificate. You can also opt to purchase pictures and videos of your flight.
Safety is a primary concern at iFLY. Every instructor is certified and highly-trained. There is no jumping and no falling involved — it’s all about simply floating on a column of air. Nothing about the experience would induce motion sickness. You’ll feel wind in your face and you can breathe normally. No experience is required.
photo courtesy of Wendy Altschuler
Who Can Participate
The indoor skydiving experience is safe and comfortable enough for kids as young as three and elderly people up to age 103 (though there are a few restrictions).
Birthday Parties for the Birds
Give your kid the chance to host the most memorable birthday party ever at iFLY. All-Inclusive packages start at $959.61, and include 24 flight rotations for up to 12 kids, access to a decorated party room, a keepsake video for every flyer, pizza, soda and water. You can also opt for a custom party, paying for each member of your flight team and renting out a party room for $150/hour and working with iFLY on catering from a local pizzeria or caterer or bringing your own treats.
800 West Scott St.
Have you taken flight at an iFly? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below.
— Amy Bizzarri