New Va. attraction provides feel of skydiving without the plane, parachute

WTOP's John Aaron tries out the flight chamber at iFLY, a new indoor skydiving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron)
WTOP’s John Aaron tries out the flight chamber at iFLY, a new indoor sky diving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
WTOP's John Aaron tries out the flight chamber at iFLY, a new indoor skydiving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron)
WTOP’s John Aaron tries out the flight chamber at iFLY, a new indoor sky diving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
(WTOP/John Aaron)
(WTOP/John Aaron)
The flight chamber at iFLY, a new indoor skydiving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron)
The flight chamber inside iFLY, a new indoor sky diving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
A look at the inside of the flight chamber at iFLY. (WTOP/John Aaron)
A look at the inside of the flight chamber at iFLY. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
A look at the flight chamber controls at iFLY. (WTOP/John Aaron)
A look at the flight chamber controls at iFLY. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
iFLY, a new indoor skydiving facility that opened this week in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron)
iFLY, a new indoor sky diving facility that opened this week in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
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WTOP's John Aaron tries out the flight chamber at iFLY, a new indoor skydiving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron)
WTOP's John Aaron tries out the flight chamber at iFLY, a new indoor skydiving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron)
The flight chamber at iFLY, a new indoor skydiving facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron)
A look at the inside of the flight chamber at iFLY. (WTOP/John Aaron)
A look at the flight chamber controls at iFLY. (WTOP/John Aaron)
iFLY, a new indoor skydiving facility that opened this week in Ashburn, Virginia. (WTOP/John Aaron)

ASHBURN, Va. — Growth in Loudoun County has led to a free fall. The area’s newest attraction is an indoor sky diving facility.

“What we essentially replicate is the free fall portion [of sky diving],” says Operations Manager for iFLY Loudoun Trevor Gibbs.

“You don’t have to jump out of an airplane, you don’t have to worry about the parachute and landing.”

The facility, which opened to the public this week, uses four powerful fans to force air up through a 14-foot-wide cylindrical flight chamber.

“The wind just kind of supports you so you’re almost like floating, flying your own body,” Gibbs says.

At iFLY, a safety class is provided. An instructor goes over hand signals and proper body position. The instructor also guides the customer in the chamber.

Flight suits, a helmet, goggles and ear plugs are provided.

General Manager Terrance Jenkins says prices start at about $80 for orientation and two, one-minute sky diving sessions. He says that’s more time in the air than an actual sky-dive — for less money.

Those as young as 3 years old can take part.

For an extra $10, fliers can get what’s called a “high flight” where the air speed is turned up, briefly shooting the flyer and instructor 15 to 20 feet higher.

“It’s everyone’s favorite part of the experience,” Gibbs says.

While flight chambers, also known as vertical wind tunnels, are not new, technology has allowed them to operate much more quietly, in turn allowing them into more areas without objection from the community.

The company bills itself as having 37 locations around the world.

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