Feeling the rush of a sky dive aerial-free fall is now possible without having to jump out of a plane thanks to a new business in town.
iFLY Chicago’s Naperville location is giving locals temporary wings thanks to their state of the art 14 foot diameter, zero gravity, climate controlled, recirculating wind tunnel.
“[That] means we don’t take air from the outside a push it out the top,” said iFLY Naperville’s General Manager, Dave Janossy. “We instead use the same air and recirculate it on a loop.”
The 1600 horsepower tunnel creates an upward draft that can be adjusted by a driver based on the flyers ability and weight, from 80 to 175 miles per hour, allowing flyers to feel weightless.
“It’s really hard to describe without someone doing it,” said Tim Hunckler, iFLY Naperville’s lead instructor. “I try to tell them best that I can. I tell them just put a smile on your face and you’ll feel that rush.”
After watching others take a turn in the tunnel I had to try it for myself.
First for safety, I took a quick training class to learn what to expect in the tunnel, including the proper body position and 4 hand signals my instructor, Allen might use to communicate.
Then it was time to suit up. Everything you need is provided by iFLY.
I was a little apprehensive before stepping into the tunnel. The wind took some getting used to, but with help from Allen I got the hang of it.
After logging more flight time, flyers can learn different moves and tricks. The iFLY experience isn’t only for beginners like me, it can be catered to any skill level.
“For someone thinking about going sky diving it’s a great first run,” said Janossy. “For someone who is reticent to jump out of a moving aircraft it’s a great simulation.”
“This gives me an opportunity to practice,” said Jill Scheidel who has 5,000 sky dives. “I’m trying to learn different ways of flying than I’m used to. It gives me the chance to practice that time in the air. It feels like free fall though.”
“It was awesome,” said first time flyer, Ken Kirincic. “It was better than I thought. I’ve always wanted to sky dive, but being a pilot you never jump out of a perfectly good airplane.”
Because of the strain on your body, typically flights are about 60 seconds. That’s comparable to the approximately 45 seconds of free fall you experience in a real world sky dive.
A beginner iFLY session starts around $70 and iFLY offers discounts for return flyers. You can visit Chicago.iFLYworld.com for more information.
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