We love the idea of flying, but somehow the thought of jumping out of a plane just didn’t sit well with us. The kids are adrenaline junkies and will usually try anything at least once. So naturally, they were keen to check out iFly. Unlike skydiving where you jump and fall, iFly takes you up in a controlled environment, with a friendly instructor to help you each step of the way.
We arrived at iFly Chermside and were assigned Reece as our flying instructor. He took us to a room for an orientation video which showed instructors from all over the world flying in the tunnel, looking all graceful and acrobatic. The video itself was pretty inspiring.. we all wanted to fly like that! Reece gave us an explanation of what to expect and the symbols he would use to communicate with us. As the flight tunnel is very loud with the wind, four types of hand gestures are used instead of voice. We then geared up in our jumpsuits and helmets, looking like astronauts, ready to fly!
iFly Chermside is a 15 million dollar facility, headed by former Australian Freestyle Skydiving Champion, Nir Davidson. Nir discovered the concept in America years ago and decided to bring it to our shores. “I was a professional skydiver and I wanted to make the feeling of jumping out of a plane accessible for everyone. What we do is mimic skydiving, simulating the sensation of free-falling at 200km/h”, says Nir.
As you enter the tunnel, you are gently blown away by the wind and the feeling of weightlessness kicks in. Reece held us up, as we floated belly down. The idea is to learn how to move with the wind. Your body needs to be adjusted to certain positions to make sure you are flying with the wind, this is where those hand gestures come in.. hopefully the kids paid attention. As an instructor, it took Reece months, including attending a boot camp, to learn to move with the wind. This was followed by flying practices inside the tunnel before he was fully qualified to fly with people (what a cool job!)
We went on a total of three flights, with the final one taking us all the way up to the top and we free-flew down, and up again several times. This was such a highlight, there’s really no feeling quite like flying. Each flight was about one minute long but it certainly felt a lot longer than that.
We finished off by receiving a flying certificate and wishing we could do just one more fly, and the kids are already planning on returning! We will have to try the Virtual Reality Flight next time, where you get to fly all over the world through VR goggles.
iFly is not just fun, it is also educational. They offer school programs teaching students about STEM and how to defy gravity by flying. We were lucky enough to get an insider’s view, walking into the dormant tunnel for a STEM activity, where Reece demonstrated how drops of water reacted to the wind.
iFly was built for anyone over the age of 3. However, the experience itself may not be for everyone. For kids, we recommend to start with 2 flights and if they love it, you can add-on another flight or so. We highly suggest getting the helmet upgrade, this covers the whole head, without goggles, to maximise the flying experience. Make sure you come to iFly in comfy clothes with lace-up sneakers and long hair tied back.
“iFly was awesome, I love flying”Ava, sipping.brisbane.jr
About iFly Brisbane
Situated at Westfield Chermside just 10km north of the Brisbane CBD, you can soar like a bird in the first generation 8 12ft (3.65m) diameter iFLY wind tunnel to be built in Brisbane.
Open 7 days a week including public holidays, 9am – 10pm
Address: Westfield Chermside, iFLY/395 Hamilton Road, Chermside, QLD, 4032