Ever wanted to go skydiving but were too worried about the whole “hurtling toward the ground at 120 miles per hour” thing? Well, allow me to introduce you to iFLY—indoor skydiving so safe, a 3-year-old can do it.
I strolled into iFLY’s location at Ridge Hill in Yonkers feeling pretty confident. I’d previously performed a tandem jump from a real plane, so I figured stepping into a vertical wind tunnel would be a walk in the park—albeit an extremely windy one.
After checking in, I was introduced to Lead Instructor Andrew Konetchy. He walked me through a short tutorial, teaching me proper body positions and hand signals for communicating in the wind tunnel. Andrew’s most important advice was simply to relax. Good advice.
Depending on the package, you get multiple rounds in the flight chamber—and you’re definitely going to need them. My first round was just learning how to control my body movements. Every minute movement dictates how the air carries you: Hold your head high, and the wind carries you upward; drop your head, and you begin to descend. Konetchy stood by my side, giving me advice, through hand signals, to relax, extend my legs, and so on.
Having heeded his advice, I was much more in control of my body movements in the second round, and I had a blast. The more body control you have, the more exhilarating the experience. The iFly folks know this, which is why they have a progression system that shares techniques for tricks like floating on your back and flips, for those who want to take things up a notch.
All in all, it was very different from traditional skydiving. The anxiety of jumping out of an airplane was absent, and you have a better sense of your surroundings within the tunnel than while staring at the ground from several thousand feet in the air. This is a great tool for practicing skydiving techniques or simply seeing what the experience is like. Plus, you get a sweet “Flight Certificate” on your way out. “Whenever you ask someone what superpower they would want, it’s usually flight,” says Konetchy. “That’s what you get here, the experience of flying—and anyone can do it.”