No parachutes, no jumping out of planes and all of the exhilaration of aerial free fall. Those are the promises made by iFLY, an indoor skydiving facility that recently opened in Rosemont. We ventured out to the new attraction and caught some air in iFLY's vertical wind tunnel.
Upon arriving, fliers check in, sign a waiver and attend a brief training sessions in which a certified instructor describes the basics of indoor skydiving. From there, each flier is outfitted with a flight suit, goggles and a helmet before lining up to enter the wind tunnel. Patrons enter the tunnel one at a time, accompanied by an instructor who gently helps each flier achieve a stable flying position on their belly. Getting in the air is as easy as leaning forward—the 80 to 175 miles per hour winds generated by four powerful fans do all the heavy lifting.
During the first of the two 60-second flights included in the beginner's package, we adjusted to the feeling of floating on a cushion of air. One thing we quickly learned is that it's important to keep a smile on your face—relaxing your mouth in a wind tunnel will leave you drooling all over yourself. During our second flight, we experienced the sensation of falling towards the ground when our instructor took us to the top of the tunnel and then dropped down to the bottom with us.
After each member of our group completed two flights, our instructor put on an aerial acrobatics show, demonstrating flips, dives and maneuvers that fliers can learn with repeat visits to the iFLY facility. Patrons who return to iFLY within three months of their last flight are eligible for discounted flight packages and are able to learn and practice new skills during each flight.
The iFLY indoor skydiving experience may not boast the spectacular views provided by jumping from a plane, but it does allow visitors to float through the air without having to worry about a parachute. It's the perfect introduction to skydiving, even if you're afraid of heights. iFLY's Rosemont location is currently booking walk-in flights and a second location in Naperville is scheduled to open later this summer.
Check out some of the indoor skydiving pros in action in the video below: