Flying — you know you’ve dreamed of it. If you’ve ever envied a seagull soaring over a cliff, or imagined yourself leaping like Ironman, here’s the chance you’ve been waiting for.
An indoor skydiving center called iFLY Loudoun opened earlier this year in Ashburn, and we’ve been eager to try it. This facility offers the sensation of skydiving without the terrifying concept of jumping out of an airplane. Instead, iFLY uses a wind tunnel to enable you to hover about the ground and feel like you are defying gravity.
Flying? Yes, please! Jumping out of a plane? Not a chance, thank you very much. iFLY sounded excellent to me.
Last weekend, I went to iFLY Loudoun with a group of friends and family, including two people who have done actual skydiving, two people who haven’t, and my five-year-old son who isn’t afraid of anything. All of us absolutely loved it. It was a total adrenaline rush, and a sensation unlike any I’ve ever had.
Here’s our review of iFLY and some of the things we learned from our experience there:
You can save money by making reservations as a group of two or more.
If you are flying with a friend or a group, be sure to book one of the packages designed for multiple people. The “Earn Your Wings” package offers the basic introductory rate of $79.95, but look at the other options before you choose that one. You can get a slight discount and free videos by booking the “Spread Your Wings for Two” package. There are also family packages and party packages with additional discounts.
You may also be able to find online coupons on various sites, so Google around before you book your reservations.
Be prepared for additional costs when you arrive.
When we checked in for our flights, we learned that there would be an additional cost of $10 for every person who wanted to “fly high” — fly with an instructor to the top of the wind tunnel. That surprised us, because we had assumed that option was already included in our pre-paid package. We shelled out the extra money upon arrival, and were glad we did. Flying high was our favorite part of the whole experience, so be sure to choose that option and prepare yourself for an extra $10 each.
We also spent money on photos ($4) and additional videos ($8). Other purchasing options include extended flights ($20) and lessons (prices vary).
You won’t be able to take photos, but you won’t need to.
When your flight time arrives, you will not be allowed to bring personal items into the wind tunnel area. If you bring someone who isn’t flying, that person can take photos of you in action from the observation room. Otherwise you’ll need to put your belongings in the provided lockers, including cameras and phones.
At first I was disappointed by this rule, because I was eager to photograph my family and friends (especially my son!) Let me assure you, though, that the iFLY staff will take fantastic photos of everyone during their flights. You can buy the high-res files afterward for $4 each. Seriously, kudos to the iFLY photographer. I have high standards for photography, and I am very pleased with the pictures.
It’s not nearly as scary as I expected, and I felt confident that it’s safe.
First-time flyers are guided by an instructor who remains in the wind tunnel with you and is in physical contact with you most of that time. At no point did I feel like I was in danger, and I even felt comfortable watching my 5-year-old son as he flew. He wasn’t frightened either, and thoroughly loved the whole thing. Flying was exciting without being scary.
If you’re afraid of heights, you might want to skip the “flying high” option. But if you are okay with looking down from about 20 feet high, then you will love the sensation of zooming up toward the ceiling!
Even though it felt safe, flying was still a great adrenaline rush!
We were glowing when it was over. The best way to describe the experience is euphoric. Spinning around the height of the wind tunnel, soaring like Superman, was such a thrill. I’m still beaming as I think back on the whole experience. My son asks several times a day when we can go back and do it again.
Now I envy those seagulls even more than ever. Those lucky birds get to do this all the time.
Here I am in action.
And here’s my son. He’s one tough little superhero.
Credit for the fantastic action photos and videos: iFLY Loudoun
iFLY Loudoun is located at the intersection of the Loudoun County Parkway and Route 7, near Top Golf and One Loudoun. It’s open seven days a week, and flights are available for people ages 3 and older. Reservations are available online.
This article was not sponsored, and all opinions are our own.