Faux Fall-

Indoor skydiving brings new thrill to Kansas City

Jake Anderson, Sports Co-Editor

iFly is an indoor skydiving facility that came to Overland Park in early February. It has one, 63-foot tall wind tunnel in the middle of the building, which is 14 feet in diameter, one of the franchise’s biggest tunnels.

The tunnel, because it is new, is one of their most advanced yet. It has two fans on the top, facing opposite of each other. The fans blow out and the air goes back down through the ground, then back up the tube. It is their most efficient tunnel and is climate controlled. Compared to the first facility they opened in Orlando, Fla., in 1998, it is way ahead in technology.

The Orlando tunnel has one fan at the base and takes the hot Forida air from the outside and blows it straight up and out.Wind speeds during the begginer flight are around 90-110 mph at the Overland Park. The speeds can reach up to 160 mph.

People as young as 3 and as old as 103 can fly in the tuneels.

Seven-year-old Graci Hanson came to Overland Park all the way from Manhattan, Kan., just to try it.

“It was scary but awesome,” Hanson said.

Even being 7 years old, she said that she would try real skydiving one day because of her experience in the tunnel.

“It feels like you’re being lifted up instead of free falling,” Danna Bowden, Brookside resident, said.

A normal skydive lasts about 30 seconds. In the wind tunnel, the flight lasts for one minute and the lowest package includes two flights. So doing indoor skydyving last four times as long.

Indoor skydiving is the closest thing there is to skydiving other than actually doing it.

The wind tunnel in Overland Park provides a place for professional skydiving teams to practice their formations without having to go through the proccess of renting a plane. A team from Iowa uses the facility, and it means more teams can have the same opportunity.

The tunnel can hold up to 12 people at a time.

There are 13 instructors at the facility and all are specially trained, while 12 of them being certified skydivers. Betwene all the instructors, they have about 15,000 dives. That means they are an experienced group of people.

The indoor skydiving business is expanding rapidly. They are popping up overseas and even on the seas. There are wind tunnels on the Royal Carribean cruise ships.

Indoor skydiving is a much cheaper alternative to actual skydiving. It’s a great introduction for those who are too timid to jump from a plane and it also lasts four times as long.