If you’ve headed up the 183 corridor towards Cedar Park, you’ve likely seen the imposing red and white iFly Austin building on the northbound side, toting the huge LCD screen and the red skydiving man icon. For months my family watched the building being constructed, wondering what in the world this indoor skydiving was all about.
iFly Austin is the first indoor skydiving facility in Texas. Using wind tunnel technology, flyers are able to experience the sensation of skydiving, without having to actually jump out of an airplane. In fact, iFly Austin serves as a training facility for skydivers coming from all over Texas.
Last Monday, my family and I had the opportunity to attend a party at iFly. Flights are safe for all ages (with some restrictions), so all three of my girls (ages 6, 6, and 4) got to fly too!
First we checked in at the front desk. Reservations are normally made online or in person at the facility. Flyers are expected to arrive an hour before their scheduled flight time. The iFly representative verified that I had signed Release of Liability waivers for myself and my children, confirming that we all met the requirements for flying and had no back, neck or shoulder injuries, and then we headed upstairs to the waiting area, where we would meet our instructor and take our pre-flight course.
In the upstairs waiting area, there are plenty of places to sit, and you can actually watch other flyers while you wait for your pre-flight course. Sometimes the instructors get into the tunnel and perform tricks and stunts for the crowd in between groups. Those guys are amazing! There are also private rooms upstairs available for parties and corporate events.
|Instructor Kirk gives us some tips on proper flight form and hand signals.|
Once our group was all accounted for, our instructors, Kirk and Josh, came in for our pre-flight instruction, consisting of a short video showing proper flight form and a review of all of the hand signals the instructors use in the flight chamber. Then it was time to fly!
iFly provides flyers with all of the necessary instruction and equipment to fly in their indoor facility. We were each suited up with flight suits, earplugs (it’s loud in that wind tunnel!), goggles, and a helmet. Make sure you wear your own comfortable attire under your flight suit and lace-up sneakers or running shoes. It’s best if you leave the jewelry and accessories at home, but iFly has lockers available should you need one.
|Smiling was surprisingly hard in this getup.|
Flyers are taken into the chamber in groups and given two one-minute flights with the instructor. In the first flight, the instructor mainly coached us on our form, reminding us to keep our chin up, positioning our arms when necessary, and signaling for us to straighten or bend our legs as needed.
Many of the younger kids in our group instinctively flailed their arms, like they were trying to “swim” through the chamber, but Kirk and Josh were quick to help them correct their form. It was amazing how the simple positioning of your body determined whether you sank, flailed, or floated comfortably! And watching my kids experience this was almost as good as experiencing it myself. Maybe better.
For the second flight, I had an idea now of what the tunnel felt like and how to hold my position. During the last 10 seconds or so of this flight, the instructor grabbed a hold of our flight suits and took us way, way, WAY up into the chamber! That was probably the best part for kids and adults alike.
Some of the younger kids still struggled with the sensation of floating, but they all did a great job. My 4-year-old, barely 33 pounds soaking wet, had a hard time getting her legs under control, and she looked a little scared when the instructor took her up and down in her last flight, but when asked, all of my kids gave the experience a solid “AWESOME!” Everyone – adults and kids – left with a huge smile on their face.
|I definitely left with a smile.|
iFly is an incredible experience for all ages and all occasions. Individual flying times for first time flyers start at $59.95. The Austin location also offers several packages to suit your needs. A family package offers savings for a family of up to 5 people. Party and corporate packages for up to 12 people are also available, as well as corporate team-building and sales events, with full access to a conference room equipped with wifi, LCD TV and DVD player, and available catering and transportation.
So are you ready to fly?
Free Fun in Austin has a Family Package for iFly Austin to give away!
A Family Package can be shared by up to 5 people and includes 5 video clips of your flight experience. It is a $272.40 value!
For your chance to win, simply fill out the form below. One winner will be selected at random on Thursday, January 29, 2015 and notified by email. Sweepstakes official rules.
If you cannot see the form, please visit the original post to enter.
For more information, visit the iFly Austin website, and don’t forget to check out their frequently asked questions. iFly Austin also welcomes Austinites to stop by anytime to watch others give indoor skydiving a try. Visiting as a spectator is free!