IFLY is the first indoor skydiving simulator of it’s kind in Ontario. It welcomes a whole new world of entertainment to delve into on a weekend. Not far from the movie theaters you can enjoy a night of indoor skydiving, creating your own experience of what it feels like to defy gravity without jumping from a plane.
If skydiving has been on your bucket list, but you need to get warmed up before you jump off of a plane you can learn how to skydive or even just try it for a one time shot at IFLY. It is open for all ages and skill experiences. The wind tunnel creates an overall fun experience. Ashley Brady, the customer service representative at IFLY, has tried it herself and she says, “It’s a fantastic experience to learn how to fly. I started out barely lasting in the wind tunnel to now have a three-hour experience. It’s a blast!”
IFLY opened first in Montreal six years ago and now it has taken flight in Toronto and in Oakville. The location in Oakville opened last May. The Oakville location is located at the Oakville Entertainment Centrum on Winston Park Drive. The Centrum is filled with restaurants, a movie theater, bars, and clubs. The IFLY Company has been warmly welcomed to the entertainment world, adding to the days and nights of fun, although you may not want to eat a hefty dinner before you go in the wind tunnel if you get nervous easily. It has become a very popular place so booking ahead would be ideal, especially for group activities.
Skydiving from a wind tunnel may sounds strange until you actually try it, but it is different than jumping from a plane. It uses a 40’ tower of re-circulating air. This allows you to experience the weightless freefall, but in a controllable manner. It’s about a twenty-meter drop from the mesh area to the floor, and the wind swirls around the tunnel chamber at about 160 kilometers per hour. Dressed up in the gear ready to fly, it is hard to even hear the strong wind in the vertical tunnel as the earplugs and helmet act as aid for protection. Fliers are fist coached by trainers and given suits, helmets, and goggles before being allowed to fly on their own. For most people the scariest part is the jump. While in the wind tunnel it is hard to hear, so hand signals are used as one of the communication tools. Flights are very short, ranging from about a minute each, but you can go again and again depending on what package you buy. The most common is four flights for one minute each. At the end of each flight you have the option to buy a video or picture of your experience, just as you would after riding a roller coaster at a theme park.
iFly gives a great experience for those who are learning to skydive as well those who are experienced thrill seekers. Training is a part of the introductory iFly experience. It starts at two flights for $72. One of the instructors, Adrian Uracz, has been skydiving for two years with about 200 outdoor skydiving experiences. He completed a month-long training session before he went on to partake in his role as a trainer.
The privately owned $10 million dollar business facility has been a success according to online reviews from first time fliers. In a press-release from the City of Oakville, Alain Guerin, the CEO of iFly Toronto, says, “We can’t wait to have people from all over the province come to Oakville and discover what it feels like to fly.” The location itself draws people in. Commuters who drive on the QEW can see the large building and often curiosity brings them in. The Indoor recreational skydiving was invented by Canadian Jean Saint-Germain. He is patented for the vertical wind tunnel which was created in 1984. Now iFly has made it’s home in Canada, continuing to expand across Ontario.
Indoor skydiving is very different from outdoor skydiving. Erika Meier, who has done both indoor and outdoor says of her outdoor experience, “The first time I went skydiving I wasn’t really nervous once we boarded the plane, and even when we reached altitude but only got nervous when we got to the back door of plane. And then everything was disoriented. Once I realized which way was up, and found the horizon, then it was exhilarating. It didn’t feel like falling, except for the 100mph wind in my face. My stomach didn’t catch up until about 60 seconds later when my tandem partner pulled the chute. It’s totally amazing. I bought my second jump on the spot, though I didn’t use it until a year later.”
Not only is this experience for fun it has also gone to another extreme of becoming a sport. IFLY Toronto just hosted it’s third Canadian Indoor Skydiving Championship on March 21-22. Each contestant was signed up as an “intermediate flyer”. There was more than $10,000 in prizes. Ashley Brady, IFLY’s customer service representative says, “It’s a very popular experience, we even have fliers come from all over Canada for our championship.”
Extreme sports are becoming more accessible to those who live in the city who want a taste of a thrilling experience. First skydiving, how about bungee jumping?