If you start feeling overwhelmed by the 12 days of winter break, seven kids carousing and the four walls closing in, picture yourself floating gently on a soft cushion of air.
Then, pack up the kids and head to iFly in Ashburn, where you can experience the weightlessness of flight for real — and the kids can work off their excess sugar and energy at same time.
“We are open 365 days a year,” iFly Loudoun General Manager Trevor Gibbs said. “We will have extended hours based on demand when the kids are out of school and we are even open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and noon to 9 on Christmas Day.”
The indoor skydiving experience opened in Loudoun almost three years ago. Indoor skydiving is the simulation of true freefall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel, which is created by four giant fans.
“It is essentially a vertical wind tunnel that generates enough air that we can teach you how to fly your own body,” Gibbs said. “It’s like floating on a soft cushion of air.”
He said the holiday break is a great time to try the iFly experience, when children are out of school and adults may have extra time off of work.
“It’s a great activity for the winter months because it is indoors,” Gibbs said. “It is also family friendly. We fly anyone ages 3 and up. Literally, everybody has the opportunity to fly.”
IFly has a variety of gift cards available for stocking-stuffers, and flight packages are available from one or two flights up to family and group packages. Gibbs said the experience appeals to all types of personalities, from daredevils to more cautious individuals.
“Everyone flies one-on-one with a certified instructor,” Gibbs said. “That teaches the body position and hand signals and they help enable every person to fly on their first try. Nobody comes out of there not flying unless they decide they are not going to do it.”
Gibbs said he has done more than 300 actual skydives from airplanes, and he said iFly simulates that experience perfectly.
“Each flight is a minute long, which doesn’t sound like much but it feels much longer when you are in the wind tunnel,” he said. “The average skydive from an airplane only lasts about 40 seconds. At the end of each session, our instructors do demonstrations of what you would call acrobatics.”
For a slight upcharge, customers can add virtual reality headgear to their experience.
”The newest and coolest thing we do is we offer virtual reality,” Gibbs said. “If you come in and do two regular flights, you can upgrade the third one to include a VR skydive. So you feel the wind on your body and through the VR headshot you are viewing footage of a real skydive. We have five “virtual” locations to choose from — Dubai, the Swiss Alps or even a wingsuit-based jump. I have made 300 skydives, but when I put on the VR, it is pretty close to the real experience.”
Gibbs said the iFly experience is a great way to get exercise and stay active.
“It is quite physical,” he said. “We have people come in and say they woke up a little stiff the next days. It is not a ride. It is a physical experience.”
He said the best way to get your iFly experience started is to visit iflyworld.com.
“You can see availability and pricing, and booking is available online,” he said. “You can buy gift cards at our location or we offer discounts on gift cards at Costco.”1 comment