iFly Review - You Don't Have to Be Superman to Have a Good Time

By the time I was six, I knew my dream of flying, like a bird, would probably never become a reality. I did still hold out hope that once I became a super hero I would be able to whiz around the sky via some jet pack kind of thingy. But by kindergarten I knew it would not be an effortless flight.


I think I was around ten when I stopped telling people I wanted to be a super hero when I grew up. This reassessment of my life goals was largely due to my growing resentment to being called cute. Also I could never quite figure out if I wanted to be more “Superman with a touch of Batman crazy” or “Batman with a little bit of that Superman’s strength.”

Photo courtesy of iFly

By the time I went to college I had also discarded thoughts of being a paratrooper, the guy who gets shot out of a cannon, or a pilot. Each one of these professions had their unique downside (like being shot at or suffering very loud noises), but they also involved a lot of dropping or flying through the air. So I graduated college, started a family, and pretty much forgot how much I used to want to fly.


That is until a couple of years ago when I overheard friends talking about iFly. iFly had just opened in Rosemont and allowed people, every day, run of the mill, normal people to fly. And it did not in any way involve super villains, cannons, or jet packs. All you needed was a willingness to try something new and a credit card.


Turns out my twelve year old daughter also wants to fly. I know this because every time we pass the Rosemont location she tell me so. And I tell her that yeah, we definitely need to do that someday. So far that day has never happened.


But then a fortunate event occurred. iFly was set to open its third Illinois operation in the heart of the city (near Division and Halsted). This Lincoln Park iFly invited a lot of people to the grand opening and somehow I, my wife, my daughter, and my daughter’s good friend all made the invite list. So in the interest of journalism, we bravely fought rush hour traffic then took to the sky (or actually we levitated a few feet above the ground while an instructor helped keep us in flight).

Photo courtesy of iFly

Was it scary? No. Prior to our flight we saw a brief video outlining the dos and don’ts of fan assisted flight. Mostly you have to keep your legs straight, your chest out, and your head up. An instructor reviewed this lesson plan and helped us don flight suits, ear plugs (it is quite loud in the flight chamber), a helmet and goggles. Then we watched customer enter a large tube like structure that resembles a pneumatic tube (like the kind banks use to suck up things in the drive through lane). Calmly a dozen people take turns sitting on benches before taking the leap into the chamber itself.


I saw at least thirty people, including my daughter and her friend, take flight. Nearly every one of them appeared to be having the time of their life. First thing my daughter asked after taking off her helmet was when she can go again. She also asked about maybe taking a few advanced lessons that allow customers to fly way high and do cool things like backflips. I did not have nearly as good an experience. Turns out actually I am a pretty lousy flier. First my legs where too straight, then I forgot to look up, and then I just could not relax enough to properly take flight. But watching my daughter enjoy the thrill I once imagined for myself more than made the night worth it.

Bottom line:  iFly is recommended in large part due to their instructors who made everyone feel safe and secure.  Flight can be quite scary but at iFly it feels both possible and fun. There are now three Illinois locations to choose from (Lincoln Park, Naperville, and Rosemont). You can also call (779) 368-4359 for more information.






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