Wednesday, May 29, 2013


iFly Austin ~ Austin, Texas

Want to fly without having to jump out of an airplane?  You can - and it's right here in Austin.  At iFLY Austin, you can act like a skydiver and fly around without ever having to strap on a parachute. It's called Indoor Skydiving - kinda like Jumbo Shrimp huh? - and it is quickly becoming one of the coolest experiences in Austin.

When I was invited to take a flight this past week, I imagined all sorts of things that made me fearful to try it.....

I imagined there would be a huge fan at the bottom of the wind tunnel blowing air upward.   Just having to look at those big blades while flying was enough to almost make me say no.  But I'm glad I didn't.  There are not any big fan blades to intimidate you.  The technology on how the wind tunnel works is pretty darn cool.  I'm not smart enough to explain it all (but they are here), however the basic design is in the two big fan tunnels on either side of the wind tunnel.  They generate up to 1600 horsepower of wind that creates a cushion of air to float on safely.
I imagined that indoor skydiving is only for professionals....that I would be living on the edge by trying of the cool kids.  True, indoor skydiving is used by professional skydivers to practice maneuvers.  But it is also a fun sport that is safe for anyone - iFLY Austin has seen 3 year olds and they have seen 93 year olds enjoy flying.  Certified instructors are with you in the tunnel the whole time and are there to ensure you not only have a great time but to keep you safe as well.

iFLY actually is a safer alternative to the real thing.  You get a two to three times longer free fall, as you have a 1-2 minute flight in the tunnel versus a 30 second free fall in the sky.  Before you ever get in the tunnel, you watch a safety video, go over proper body positioning and learn all the right hand signals.

I imagined I'd be nauseous with my stomach in my throat at the free-fall sensation the whole time.  Not a bit.  In fact, there is not a free-fall sensation at all.  You just feel wind blowing forcefully on you, but to be honest, you are so in awe of the fact that you are actually flying, that you really don't "feel" anything at all.
I imagined there was no wind strong enough in the world that could hold this momma up. As soon as I "laid" into the wind and was gently picked up, that thought disappeared.  There is a "driver" of the tunnel that controls the air speed depending on whose flying.  I had visions of little kids blown to the top of the tunnel a la Willie Wonka style.  Everyone flies at a different wind speed.  And they push it up a bit for the tricks and the high flyers - which I may have experienced.....
And I imagined I would look like Wile E Coyote trying to fly off a cliff....scrambling through the air, trying to stay a float.  Cause let's face it, I'm not the most graceful momma.  But the moment you lay into the wind, having faith that you will float, all concern about how you look, goes out the window. I mean, your flying.....I don't care what I looked like - it was amazing!! Take a look:

I really had such an amazing time at iFLY Austin - one of the coolest things I have done in a long time!  While I was there I saw a little one fly and he was so comfortable at it that it made me want to bring my kiddos - it is on our Summer Bucket List for sure!

iFLY Austin is a great family activity but they host birthday parties too - What a fun way to celebrate turning 16! Or 12...or 10?  Birthday parties include flights for all participants.

Once you try it, you only want more, which is why iFLY offers great deals for return flyers as well.  And I hear they even have a kids club!

So, now that I've taken all the fear away - who's going to try it this summer?

Other Fun Things to Do in Austin:

Texas Travel Facts for iFLY Austin:
Location: 13265 N Hwy 183, Austin, TX
Hours: Monday - Thursday: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
             Friday: 10:00 am - 11:00 pm 
             Saturday: 9:00 am - 11:00 pm
             Sunday: 9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Admission: Fees vary based on experience
Recommended Time: 1-2 hours
Good to know: Wear closed-toe shoes and comfortable clothes to wear under jumpsuit; Video and pictures available for purchase

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