iFLY is now open in Lincoln Park in addition to their Rosemont and Naperville locations! I took my kids to the Naperville location when they were 4 and 6… then my son asked to celebrate his birthday there when he turned 7 because he loved it so much. It’s definitely a memorable experience that we all still talk about!
The following is an excerpt from our experience so you will know what to expect, originally published July, 2014. Click here to read the original article.
Our experience at iFLY was unbelievably unique and so incredibly fun! They make it an awesome and safe adventure for everyone, even kids as young as 3 years old. The experience perfectly replicates the sensation of a skydiving free-fall while eliminating the daunting leap out of an airplane. Fliers simply lean forward onto a cushion of air (toward their friendly, certified iFLY instructor) and the rushing air allows them to float. First-time flyers are given the opportunity to learn basic belly flying. Like any skilled sport, with additional training, flyers can progress to advanced aerial gymnastic maneuvers.
I have never been a thrill seeker, so when I initially heard about indoor skydiving I was tentative about the idea. I think the word “skydiving” threw me off, but my kids and I checked out the video on their website and saw that first timers hover and it simulates flying. Very cool. And definitely not scary like jumping out of a plane! We were all in at that point.
We decided to get there early and ended up watching everyone for about a half an hour. It was apparent that the instructors were very professional and talented! My kids were not only prepared for what to expect, but absolutely bursting with excitement. Our instructor then took us to a small classroom where we watched a four minute video explaining safety, correct form and hand signals for body adjustments. Then the instructor reviewed the hand signals and answered questions.
Next stop, jumpsuits and gear! Each flyer wears a flight suit, ear plugs, helmet and goggles. They were very accommodating with sizes and patient while everyone suited up. Many places we have been to say that younger kids can participate, but the shoes or clothes are too big. I appreciated how prepared they are at iFLY. The instructors ensure that everything fits correctly and comfortably.
Then all of the fliers go into the wind tunnel to wait for their turn on the bench outside the main cavity. There was a sense of camaraderie with fliers high fiving each other after their turns. There was definitely excitement in the air! Each flier’s first turn (flight) was spent flying and making adjustments for optimal body positioning. The instructor is in the wind tunnel with each person the entire time, giving tips with hand signals. He lets go as much as he can so the flier can fly independently when they have a stable body position. During the second flight you have the option to fly up and down in the wind tunnel with the instructor. That was my son’s favorite part!
The iFLY experience is made possible utilizing a technology called the “vertical wind tunnel,” which was historically used by the military and professional skydivers for training. Four powerful, high-efficiency axial fans are mounted at the top of the building, channeling air down the side tunnels into the basement, and then up through the floor of the 14-foot-wide circular flight chamber, creating a strong upward draft. This upward draft, which ranges in speed from approximately 80 to 175 miles per hour (depending on the weight and expertise level of the flyer), creates a stable, safe, wall-to-wall airflow that gently pushes guests aloft and makes it possible for them to fly.
At the end of their flights my kids were glowing! And right when we got home they both stuck their flight certificates to the refrigerator. They have been talking about the experience ever since! I would definitely recommend taking your kids for this incredible and unique experience.
From first-time flyers to professional skydivers, different flight packages are available based on level of experience, number of people and preferred flight time. Each flight is 60 seconds in length—actually longer than the approximate 45-second free-fall descent experienced when jumping out of an airplane. Double-length flights are also available at a reduced rate. Flyers who return to iFLY within three months of their last session are classified as “Return Flyers” and offered discounted packages. Experienced flyers also have the opportunity to fly in groups with others of the same skill level in the tunnel.
The new iFLY Indoor Skydiving facility is located at 800 West Scott Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The suburban locations are in Rosemont at MB Financial Park at 5520 Park Place Rosemont and in the Freedom Commons at 1752 Freedom Drive in Naperville. More information can be found at iFLYworld.com. Guests can book flight reservations online at chicago.iFLYworld.com. Walk-in flights are also accepted.