Indoor Skydiving at iFLY in Virginia Beach is an experience I will never forget!
I am scared of heights. Full stop. Period. But I hate the idea of limiting myself. So I have always pushed myself to move past this fear. Whether it be looking down when I’m at the top of a skyscraper or battling obstacles in the treetops at the Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium, I don’t want a fear of heights to determine what I can and cannot do.
That’s why my fiancé, Danny, and I decided to go to iFLY at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Danny is a lot more adventurous than I am. He’s always up for an adventure, and has been my partner in many exciting excursions. We went on a beautiful summer day but, because iFLY is an indoor facility, this adventure would be perfect for rainy days or to get away from the scorching heat.
Indoor Skydiving? What’s That?
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that doing indoor skydiving involved a high powered wind tunnel, but that’s about it. At iFLY, they use a vertical wind tunnel to simulate what it feels like to skydive. Guests float, fly upwards and as they become more advanced, do amazing tricks in midair. These tunnels are used to by skydivers to train and hone their skills before actually jumping from a plane. The popularity of these wind tunnels has created a new sport called “bodyflight,” which involves performing freestyle and formation flying.
Coming Early, Prep for Flight
We were told to arrive about an hour early to do our “pre-flight training.” This entails checking in and signing a waiver. On the wall were touch-screens that allowed us to electronically read through the instructions and warnings and sign our names. The staff was incredibly friendly. They welcomed us and immediately put us at our ease.
As Danny read the warnings, he realized that there is a danger if you’ve ever dislocated a shoulder. The high powered wind puts pressure on your arms and shoulders. Even though he is very active, he suffered many dislocated shoulders when he was a teenager. Surgery fixed this for the most part, but he alerted the staff to the danger. They were caring and concerned and said to make sure to tell our flight instructor. After we signed the waiver, we were told to head upstairs to the wind tunnel, our instructor would meet us there.
We went upstairs, and there it was! The wind tunnel looked as it did in the pictures I saw online, and yet, more impressive. It was much taller than I expected, stretching at least two stories tall. There were guests in the tunnel. They were obviously beginners, just trying out their newly taught skills.
After they finished, the pros jumped in. I had no idea everything a person could do inside the tunnel. I thought it was just a bunch of floating. These wind acrobats did tons of flips and turns. Then, unexpectedly they shot to the top of the tunnel. That’s when I started to get nervous. I thought we’d be floating gently just a few feet off the ground. I had no idea it was even possible to go that high. I told myself, maybe it’s just the pros that do that.
Then our flight instructor, Jason, found us. Jason led us to the training room. Since it was both Danny and my first time, he put on a basic instructional video. When you indoor skydive, there is a basic position you are to keep your body in. You lie on your stomach as you float with your hands above your head and your legs slightly bent extended behind you. We were also taught hand motions that our instructor would use if he needed us to adjust our body position. Because of the high wind in the tunnel, he would be unable to give us verbal instructions, so the hand motions were very important.
When Jason returned, he was extremely friendly and helpful. With the help of a padded table, he demonstrated the body position, and asked us if we wanted to practice. I appreciated the fact that Jason did it first, making me feel less foolish when I jumped up to try out the moves.
Danny told Jason about his past dislocations, and he was instructed to let Jason know if he started feeling any discomfort. Jason looked at our tickets and told us that our passes were special passes which allowed him to take us to the top. At that moment, my fear of heights kicked in. But when he asked if we wanted to, I meekly said yes. Next step, the tunnel!
Suit Up and FLY!
Our flight suits fit easily over our street clothes. We were told to wear lace up shoes, but these we had to remove and put back on to get the suit on. It was obvious that safety is a high priority at iFLY. We were given ear plugs to protect us from the high intensity wind, as well as safety goggles and helmets.
After we were dressed, Jason directed us to the tunnel. It’s completely enclosed in glass and consists of two entrances. The first leads you to the bench where those waiting to fly are seated. The next is your gateway into flight, leading directly into the wind tunnel.
I was up first. As soon as I stepped in, I got into the body position and began to float. It was unlike anything that I have ever experienced, and easier than I expected. For our first flight, Danny and I would just be practicing the basics, flying in a stable body position with minimal help. We were allowed two sessions with Jason in the tunnel. And each time, both Danny and I had huge smiles on our faces. It was so much fun! The sensation of flying is something I’ve always dreamed of! Jason helped us to learn how to go higher and lower and move around.
At the end of my second session, Jason gave me a hand signal letting me know we were about to go up. He grabbed my hands and off we flew. Circling around and around we jetted to the top of the tunnel and back down again. I definitely was not thinking of my fear of heights. I couldn’t help but laugh and woot! The whole ride was exciting and fun.
Post Flight and Future iFLY Excursions
After our flight, Jason gave each of us a certificate, stating that we had completed our training and gone through the first session successfully. He told us we did great, and encouraged us to come back.
Each time you return to iFLY, you are taught new skills like back flying, flips, cartwheels, jetting up to the top and more! Danny and I agreed that we would both love to come back!
iFLY is an amazing activity here in the Virginia Beach area. Whether you are a visitor or local, be sure to check out this unforgettable experience.
Check Out My Flight & Danny’s Flight
iFLY Virginia Beach: 2412 Pacific Ave., Virginia Beach • 757-754-4359 • Website