by Jonah Sachs ‘20
Imagine jumping out of an airplane. A little nerve-wracking, right? Now imagine getting the thrill of skydiving without the risk of a broken parachute. For participants at iFLY, an indoor skydiving adventure, this vision is a reality — and at a very affordable price, too. iFLY, a relatively new entertainment spot to the area, gives flyers the best of both worlds: the thrill of “falling” that one would receive from real skydiving for a fifth of the price and none of the risk.
As I walked into the building, I had no idea what to expect. Much like many first-timers, I didn’t know what “indoor skydiving” meant. After the initial signing in, I was quickly escorted up to the wind tunnel for initial briefing. A sight to see, the wind tunnel was exactly as one would expect: a large tube with an enormous fan blowing up from underneath, reaching speeds of at least 80 mph towards the participant.
After a brief introduction and training, I was suited up and moved into the wind tunnel. Knowing I had two 60-second intervals to work with, I was determined to get positioning right the first time. With the instructor holding on, I stepped into the wind chamber and was swept off my feet. Eyes open, I could see myself literally floating in the air. After a few turns and twists in the chamber — still tethered to the professional’s arm — it was time to get out, allowing the next person in the group to go. The second flight brought both me and the instructor higher up into the air, an experience well worth the total $50 charged for both flights together.
Located near the RIO Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg, iFLY is a new take on thrill-seeking activities for those who simply can’t do the real thing. It appeals to those who want the adrenaline-pumping act of jumping out of a plane for real, without the cost — monetarily and physically. In a phrase, it’s for those who seek thrills and not bills.
An ingenious idea, iFLY allows those dedicated to the sport (or even those inspired after their first “jump”) to progress in skill; participants start with an instructor and can gradually build up to independent flying with flips and tricks — over a period of many flights, of course. Truly a pastime worth experiencing — whether to try it out or progress to the professional level — iFLY is truly an adventure worth having.