If you’ve ever wanted to experience the feeling of flight but can’t imagine yourself jumping from an airplane, look no further than iFly Indoor Skydiving, located at 430 Vin Rambla Drive in El Paso, next to Top Golf.
While iFly El Paso’s doors have only been open since April, the company’s history dates back more than 30 years. Their first iFly wind tunnel opened in 1998 in Orlando, Florida; since then, more than 10 million people and counting have taken flight in one of its more than 30 U.S. locations and more than 70 worldwide, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Singapore.
So who can take flight at iFly El Paso? Well, you can!
Flyers can be as young as three years old, though those 17 and younger need a parent or guardian present to sign their waiver. There’s no maximum age; iFly has treated people older than 100 to the freedom and fun of flight! For safety reasons, pregnant women and those heavier than 300 pounds should not fly, and those with recent back, neck, or heart issues should check with a doctor before flying. Other than that, iFly is open to all.
The check-in and orientation process at iFly is a breeze. Show up at your scheduled time, head to a kiosk, and begin your flight waiver and sign-in forms. Once those are complete, visit with a member of the Flight Crew to pick up your wristband before you head to an orientation session, during which an instructor covers flight basics. After briefing, climb into your flight suit, strap on a helmet, and you’re ready to fly!
The iFly experience, from check-in to landing, lasts about one hour, and each flyer in a group will fly twice; if you want more time in the air, additional flights are available for purchase, as are a handful of add-ons and extras.
One of these extras is virtual reality. With the addition of a VR headset to your iFly experience, you’ll find yourself even further immersed, tumbling from a plane cruising at 10,000 feet above destinations including the Swiss Alps, Hawaii, and Dubai or BASE jumping the stunning Alpine Mountains, using real-life recorded skydives to make it feel as close to the real thing as possible.
Though iFly recreates the feeling of free-fall flight, there’s actually no falling involved. Instead, a vertical wind tunnel creates a “cushion” of air under flyers, lifting them into the air in a safe, secure environment, alongside a certified professional flight instructor there to assist and support flyers.
To achieve this, iFly employs its very own recirculating wind tunnel technology, which relies on four fans placed in optimized positions to drive air in a simple, efficient loop that keeps speed and flow constant and smooth. Relying on an ever-evolving technology, iFly tunnels also require less than one-third the power of a horizontal wind tunnel running at the same speed.
IFly El Paso is a great option for parties, from birthdays for young and old, quinceañeras, bar and bat mitzvahs to graduations, even engagement parties. All party packages include a dedicated, onsite party coordinator for the special day, flight training class with a professional instructor, flight gear for the party, hands-on instruction for each partygoer and one included video of your flight session. First-class upgrades
For elementary school students, iFly’s instructors will focus on matter, force, and motion, and students will design an investigation on parachutes and how they work. Middle school students will apply Newton’s laws of physics to objects in the wind tunnel, discuss balanced forces, and conduct an experiment dealing with surface area. High school students can explore what happens to a flyer’s displacement, velocity, and acceleration in the tunnel — then become a part of the experiment for themselves. STEM programs are available by appointment weekday mornings for groups of 15 and more — call for cost, booking, and more information.
Similarly, iFly offers specialized programs for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, military units and personnel — even those with physical or cognitive challenges are invited to soar through iFly’s All Abilities program, which means anyone who comes to fly at iFLY and expresses a desire for assistance will be helped by specially-trained flight instructors and will be afforded proper accommodations based on specific challenges.
IFly El Paso is open seven days a week. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Flight package pricing is $59.95 for two flights, $76.95 for three, $95.95 for four flights, and $112.95 for five flights, including all flight gear, hands-on instruction, and personalized flight certificate.
Employers, coaches, team captains, and other organization heads can rely on iFly El Paso to take corporate events and group outings “to new heights.” The space includes a bright, private conference space with large-screen displays and WiFi, with seating for more than 20. Inspiring a team, fostering teamwork, celebrating a company milestone, courting new clients, or just a day away from the office — whatever the corporate or business need, iFly El Paso can provide facilitated team development processes, or simply provide flight instruction for your team.
As with other events, all gear and instruction are provided, along with one-on-one supervision for each flyer, personalized flight certificates, and flexible scheduling for morning, afternoon, and evening events.
Educators looking way outside the box for exciting STEM activities also take advantage of iFly for field trips that can give students insight into the real-world applications of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Team members lead demonstrations on the science behind iFly’s wind tunnels, giving kids insight into the “how” before they take flight. Lesson plans may be catered for all grades, elementary through college-level, and with a little coordination, teachers can supply what materials they’d like taught during the visit.
Written by Zak Hansen
Photography by Zak Hansen and courtesy iFly