iFly Indoor Skydiving

iFly Hollywood Indoor Skydiving
100 Universal City Plz
CA 91608
Follow iFly Hollywood on Facebook

Type: Outdoors/Indoors (yes, both)
Category: Entertainment, Thrills
Company: Friends, Dates, Fans of (ugly) jumpsuits
Cost: $59.95 for 2 flights; $99.95 for 4 flights or 2 double-length (recommended)

Quickie: Recreate the amazing sensation of skydiving in a controlled wind tunnel. 
Be prepared to wipe a giant grin off of your face at the end.   

OTC Tip: Wear comfy clothes – the jumpsuit fits over everything you have on, so bulky clothes are not a good idea.

Review: Having already jumped out of a plane, I was a little skeptical regarding indoor skydiving. I mean, most of the thrill comes from the actual falling, right? How can I essentially stay in place and still feel a rush? Luckily, my ignorance once again was called into question, and I got to experience a great flight.

iFly operates two locations in CA, one in Hollywood and the other in the SF Bay Area. (They also have 23 total locations throughout the US.) I have been to both CA facilities and noticed no real difference. Much like skydiving, each flyer dons a wingsuit, helmet, and goggles before stepping into the queue. Flyers cycle in and out of the tunnel quickly, so I never felt like I had to wait. I booked the 4 flight package, but got to bundle it down to 2 longer flights. If you can, I definitely recommend this scenario – it allowed me to stabilize and then have more time to practice technique.  And that in turn, gave me a cheek-hurting smile that wouldn't go away for hours.  

Upon entering the tunnel I was immediately shocked by how much force the fan had below me (yea, I know, it’s a wind tunnel made to fly in, I’m an idiot for not expecting to be smacked in the face with wind). The instructor paced the edge of the tunnel and stepped in to help me initially stabilize.  The actual act of adjusting my body in order to move around was easier than I expected; I’ll give some credit to having gone skydiving before, but the instructors were great with giving me minor tweaks throughout. The highlight was having the instructor step in at the end, grab my hands, and spin me up to the top and back down.  It was a major thrill; I only wish I was good enough to do that the entire time.  Once I settled in and got my positioning right, I was free to (attempt) to gracefully move around the tunnel and wave at passersby. Wait, I did mention that the iFly Hollywood tunnel is outdoors, right? Yep, you get an audience while your cheeks are pushed back like a dog enjoying an open car window. I actually enjoyed the crowd outside; it made the flight feel that much more real.  At the end of everyone's flights, the instructor decided it was time to show off, and proceeded to knock out a very impressive set of spins, flips, and combinations.  To finish his set, he performed an amazing backflip in which he landed perfectly at the door.  It was the best advertisement for coming back and improving my skills. 

The act of flying through the sky is hard to recreate, big fan or not. Without the relative motion of falling that accompanies skydiving, comparisons are hard. But that’s a positive – iFly is it’s own adventure completely. Instead of trying to be a substitute for jumping out of a plane, iFly has taken the idea and made it unique. Sure, professional skydivers can benefit by practicing complicated formations, but the general public, out looking for a quick thrill, will walk away a changed person. The feeling of flying while essentially not moving is uncanny, and should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.  If I had anything negative to say, the price is a little high, especially relative to a legit tandem skydive, but after feeling weightless, I would go again (and have).

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