Minnesota is getting its first-ever indoor skydiving attraction this week. An iFly facility is set to open near the Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka featuring a skydiving experience with wind tunnels blasting wind at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.
Dave Janossy, Midwest regional director for Austin, Texas-based iFly, says the use of wind tunnels — more-so than simulation or VR options — creates an exact copy of a real, outdoor skydiving experience.
“It’s so identical that all professional sky divers use our wind tunnels now to train even for their outdoor work,” says Janossy.
But it’s not just professionals that can take advantage of the new iFly facility in Minnesota. Anyone from the age of 3 and up, weighing 300 pounds or less, can participate in a flight experience. Sessions typically last between 90 minutes and two hours.
The 5,000 square-foot Minnetonka facility will boast the most updated version of iFly’s wind tunnels. Each glass wind tunnel will be 12 feet wide and coolly lit. Instructors will facilitate all flying experiences, including flight guidance and pre-flight demonstrations.
In addition to standard flight experience offerings, iFly offers birthday parties, corporate team events, flight school courses and coaching, all-abilities nights for the special needs community, and, even STEM education programs that will center around the science and technology of skydiving (the moving of air, how air affects different objects, etc.).
Janossy says with all these offerings, and the nearly limitless qualities of the wind tunnel experience, it’s an activity everyone and anyone can enjoy.
“There are not many activities that a family group could do, [but] a 5-year-old, 16-year-old, mom, dad, active grandpa and grandma can all fly [and] have a personal flight experience,” says Janossy. “But obviously the joy of the parents seeing their kids flying, it’s pretty special.”
The Minnetonka location will be iFly’s 76th site. The company has sites all over the globe. If its first Minnesota edition does well, the company could bring a second location to the state, says Janossy, though there are no plans for such a move yet.
Construction on the Minnetonka iFly facility began seven months ago. It opens to the public December 22 and an official launch party is planned for January 17. Ticket prices range from about $70 to $300 depending on the package and can be purchased here.