Last Updated on September 8, 2019 by Irene Seto
iFLY Calgary opens its first Alberta location
iFLY Calgary is now open – are you ready to get your adrenaline going? The company’s latest addition can be found at Deerfoot City in N.E. Calgary. The indoor skydiving experience or ‘body flying experience’ will have you soaring like Superman to heights you have never imagined.
Now, I have never jumped out of a plane to skydive before and I know I never will. But the idea of an indoor facility that could give me the same thrills at a much more affordable price? Sign me up! And it really is similar to actual skydiving! All of the instructors are professional skydivers and use the iFLY facility as their training ground for real jumps. While indoor skydiving may not be the real deal, it gets pretty close and makes it accessible for everyone ages 3 to 103!
Inside iFLY Calgary
For months, traffic goers along Deerfoot Trail wondered about the unusual building going up right alongside the freeway. When news that an indoor skydiving building was being put in place, it definitely sparked many Calgarians’ curiosity. When you visit iFly, it will become obvious why the company needed such a unique structure to be built. The custom windtunnel is the main centerpiece of the building and functions as the main skydiving space with room for fliers to go up a few stories high. This windtunnel is the actual space that skydivers use to practice their tricks before dropping out of a plane.
There is a large viewing room that circles around most of the windtunnel. It’s the perfect way for family and friends to watch you in action. That means everyone else is watching you too – this can be a little disconcerting, but you’ll totally forget about it once you get flying in the tunnel.
TIP: When you go, I highly recommend that you bring along a non-flier so they can take pictures and video of you from the audience. iFLY does offer great photo and video packages from inside the tunnel, but it is nice to have someone on the outside do the same for you. I mean, photos or it didn’t happen, amiright?
Bookings are available online in 30-minute slots. It’s recommended to book ahead of time – you can save some money if you can go on a weekday and/or during non-peak times.
How the iFLY indoor skydiving process works
On the day of your booking, make sure to arrive 15 minutes early as you have to check in before your flight (for example, if your flight time is 2:00pm, make sure to be there by 1:45pm). I found iFLY Calgary to be absolutely hopping on a Saturday afternoon with tons of folks getting ready to fly. You can also sign off on your waiver online ahead of time.
Once your wristband is in place, you can head into the viewing area to wait for your flight time to be called. There are small lockers to store your personal items and can easily hold a jacket and purse, but best to keep backpacks or larger items in the car or at home.
When your flight time comes up, your instructor will call for all participants to come up to the front. You’ll get fitted into a flight suit and helmet (if you can upgrade your package to get the helmet with visors, I highly recommend it for better comfort inside the tunnel). The group will be taken to a safety training session to watch a training video and learn some basic hand gestures to follow while skydiving. Once everyone is on the same page and ready to go, you’ll line up to head inside the waiting area inside the tunnel to get ready to fly!
Being inside the windtunnel
I have to admit, I was pretty nervous once we lined up to get skydiving! I am not the daredevil type so this was definitely out of my comfort zone. But I had a great instructor that I felt really comfortable with and that knew what he was doing so that really helped alleviate any anxiety I had.
And once I took the plunge it was so much fun! The windtunnel recalibrates the windspeed based on your size and skills so it goes a little slower for little kids and much faster for adults – upwards of 100 km/hr. So what does iFLY feel like once you’re inside the tunnel? I kind of equate it to like being in a pool. It’s definitely a different kind of pressure as the windpower coming up at you is much stronger than water, but the end result is you end up floating aka flying through the air. If you’ve ever had to power walk your way through a windstorm, it’s that same kind of feeling, but even stronger since the windtunnel can pick you up off your feet! There really is no regular day-to-day occurrence to compare this to so the iFLY Calgary experience is definitely unique.
TIP: For ladies with long hair make sure you have a strong hair elastic on you to keep your hair tied back. A hairbrush to detangle your locks will also be helpful after your flight.
As you are flying, an instructor is inside the tunnel with you to help guide and assist as needed – so you don’t start off on your own which made me feel much better. Hand signals are taught because you can’t really talk or hear anything with the force of the wind blowing at you. It can be hard to keep proper form as the wind beats at all your body parts. That’s why the instructor will wave hand signals at you to straighten your legs or flex your arms so you can keep flying properly. Just the slightest adjustment of your arms and legs can result in you going up, down, sideways, you name it!
Each flight lasts about 1 minute long which felt both equally slow and fast to me at the same time. Inside the wind tunnel, they have a countdown clock that will start flashing as your time winds down. Once your turn is done, you head back into the seating area to watch the others in your group. You’ll take turns with the other group members until everyone has used up all their allotted flight times.
TIP: Book the high flight if you can! The instructor will take you up sky high in the tunnel for a few whirls. It’s quite exhilarating to go all the up the windtunnel.
Staying safe while flying
iFLY takes safety seriously as the indoor skydiving experience is considered an extreme sport not just your typical amusement park ride. If you have any serious health concerns, it’s best to call ahead to find out info before booking. I have asthma so I asked about how to breathe properly during the experience – it’s mainly a matter of staying calm and breathing as normal which I found was easy to do. One of the major health risks is if you have any previous neck and shoulder injuries. iFLY warns that if you have ever dislocated your shoulder that this experience is not for you. Once I got into the wind tunnel, I could see why as the force of the gales really puts intense pressure on all your joints.
Learning to fly is hard work! I definitely felt a little achy afterwards. Keeping your arms and legs up for a full minute takes some endurance even if the wind is doing most of the work.
iFLY Calgary is fun and unique experience for Calgarians of all ages. It’s great for parties of all kinds, birthday parties, family outings and more (I even saw a bachelorette party come in). Head over to the iFLY Calgary website to get started on your indoor skydiving experience!
#hosted: Thanks to the iFLY Calgary team for letting me try out my first ever skydiving experience!
I might be an adrenaline junkie now.