It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a birthday girl! Don a flight suit and goggles with your kids, then take your turn at feeling the rush of air pushing you up with a force around 100 mph. iFLY Portland just opened its 12th indoor skydiving location in Tigard and is the only indoor skydiving facility in Oregon. Here’s what we discovered when we defied gravity for ourselves.
photo: Courtesy of iFLY
Before Your Flight
Show up one hour prior to your scheduled flight and sign waivers at one of the computers in the downstairs lobby. The staff will call your name to give you wristbands before you head upstairs to the main area.
Benches surround the the wind tunnel so you can sit and watch as other people one at a time perfecting their Superman-style position with the help of an instructor. The cylindrical tunnel is 14 feet across. There’s a somewhat flexible mesh floor with wind pushing up from the basement three stories below. Four clean electric motors power the wind in the tunnel.
About 30 minutes before your flight, you will go into a small room, be introduced to your instructor, then you’ll be shown a short video. The video shows optimal body positioning as well as what three different hand signals used in the tunnel mean. Because it is so loud in the wind tunnel, you have to wear earplugs. The hand signals are for the instructor to get you in optimal flying position by straightening your legs, bending your legs or reminding you to relax.
After your short training session, you’ll go to the equipment Gear Up counter to receive your flight suit, helmet, goggles and ear plugs. Now’s a good time to corral your kids into the nearby restroom, before zipping up your flight suit, which goes on over your clothes.
Tips for Your Flight
Leave the jewelry at home, or lock it up in a nearby locker because no jewelry can be worn (that includes wedding rings) and long hair will need to be tucked up inside your helmet. Be sure to wear shoes that fit well and tie on tight. They have some in all sizes for borrowing in case you forget yours.
photo: Courtesy of iFLY
During the Flight
Your crew will sit on a bench near the tunnel and when it’s your turn, the instructor will let you know. You enter the tunnel doorway with your arms crossed over your chest as the instructor guides you in. Once you enter, you immediately take your proper flying form. Luckily, you have to keep your chin up, because beyond the mesh floor is a drop to the basement, three stories below. An instructor is with you the whole time. There are handles on your flight suit to let them easily position you or to keep you centered, away from the tunnel walls. There’s a screen that tells you how fast the wind is moving and counting your time down. This is also the area where your photo and video is being taken. Smile!
Flights last one minute. Near the end of your minute, the air cranks up and the instructor will fly you up about two stories and circle around for a High Fly. They usually do this twice for each person during the last 10 seconds of your flight. It’s breathtaking and completely worth it, but you have the option not to do it if you don’t want to. Lights will flash when your flight is about to end, then the instructor will help fly you to the door. Grab the door frame with both hands and gently touch down outside the tunnel.
After everyone in your crew has flown, the instructor will take a turn flying and showing you all kinds of cool stuff, like flips, twists and sticking to the walls like Spiderman. They’ll fly to the top of the tower, then dive bomb down and either stop just before the mesh floor, or gently bounce off of it.
After the Flight
Last, you’ll head back over to the counter, return your gear and receive certificates if you were able to fly for any length of time unassisted. On your next visit, you’ll be able to learn new things, like chair sits, progressing each time from there. At the counter, you can also purchase photos and videos of your family’s flights.
photo: Courtesy of iFLY
More Opps for Flying
Mid-January, iFLY Portland will be offering up a Kids’ Club after school activity program for ages 3-17. Kids can play fun flight games and learn about being part of a team, how to stretch properly, how to fly with others and how to create routines. Each Tuesday, kids will take turns flying for 5 minutes. The Tunnel Tots club is for kids ages 3-9 and The Flying Forces club is for kids 10-17. Photos and videos are included in the price. $275/child for 4 sessions (total of 20 minutes flying time). Kids Club and adult league information can be found here.
iFLY also offers field trips and homeschool STEM-based programs, depending on your needs. More info about their educational programs can be found here.
Plan on the entire experience lasting 1.5 hours, start to finish.
Pricing: $69.95 is the starter package that includes 2 flights for one person and all the gear. Click here for a full list of flight packages.
Also, if you have had a shoulder dislocation, back injury, weigh over 250 lbs. or are pregnant, you should not fly. A full list of restrictions can be found on their website.
Ages: 3 & up
Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat.; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.
10645 SW Greenburg Rd.
Have you ever dreamed of skydiving but were afraid to leave the ground? Let us know in the comments below!