Freedom is found in more ways than one – Melbourne’s first indoor skydiving facility, iFLY Melbourne offers a chance to skydive without a parachute in a controlled and safe wind tunnel. It’s the closest sensation there is to skydiving – just without the part where you throw yourself from a plane! My Plus One and I headed out to Essendon Fields to try it for ourselves.
Around 20 minutes drive from Melbourne’s CBD, iFLY is a custom built indoor sky diving complex where you can try out this adrenalin-fuelled sport in a quick and easy way. The wind-tunnel mimics the sensation of falling out of a plane at 200km/h with the experience lasting approximately one minute, which is longer than a tandem jump. When my plus one and I arrived we were greeted at the door and asked to fill out some (digital) paperwork and waivers. From there we climbed the stairs to their observation room to see what it looked like.
Essentially the flyer and a trained instructor fly above a wire mesh in a large glass wind tunnel that goes up a few stories. When we first arrived a child around 5 years old was getting into the wind-tunnel for her first flight (she loved it). Because there is a flight instructor with you at all times to help you learn, it’s an activity that people of all ages can get involved in, (they say three to 103 years old, to be precise!). Since opening its first tunnel in 1998, iFly has flown over 10 million people of all ages and abilities in more than 70 locations worldwide, so you know you’re going to be in safe hands. We also found out that this is an all-abilities activity so if you have different needs the staff (with advance notice) can usually help you to fly during their all-abilities sessions! As fun as it was to watch other people flying, it was time to give it a go ourselves!
Our flight instructor met our group and took us to the briefing room where we watched a short video on the four key hand signals used to guide us during the flight. We also learnt how we should hold our bodies, and what the entry and exit procedure would be. From there we suited up in a one-piece flight suit (not as daggy as I was expecting) and fitted our helmets & earbuds (it was going to get LOUD!). As we waited in the loading zone for our first flight, the adrenalin defiantly kicked in, but before we knew it it was time to jump in ourselves.
Flying feels amazing. As you hover above the ground, the instructor made sure we positioned our hands and feet correctly to maintain our flight. After an initial few minutes in the air it was time for our high flight – this is where an instructor holds you and you fly high into the top of the complex then drop back to the ground. I really recommend glancing down when you do this for a heart-stopping fright! The whole experience is so much fun. We also loved watching the instructors do a solo performance at the end of each group’s flight. These professions flip, soar and glide their way with ease – it truly looks magical and goes to show what some practice will bring.
Although iFLY is an indoor facility, the vertical wind tunnel is a dynamic environment where there is constant fresh air supply from outside. The air inside the iFLY tunnel is refreshed at a rate of 10 to 100 times that of other businesses, completely recycling air in the tunnel every 30-90 minutes. We felt very confident that their COVID-safe practices were strong. Skydiving without a parachute is normally a one way trip, but we’ll definitely be back to try this again!
– The Plus Ones
Book your own flight at iFly Melbourne on their website.
This activity is partially accessible, call the team at iFly to discuss your requirements.