It’s hard to get virtual reality closer to real life than what iFly Montreal has been offering since September 22nd. The indoor free fall experience has been enhanced with a virtual reality helmet. Instead of flying through a wind tunnel along the 15 freeway, you fly over mountains, waterfalls and canyons in Hawaii, Dubai, California or the Swiss Alps.
Posted on October 22nd
The so-called iFly 360 VR experience isn’t perfect, the images bounce a lot due to strong air circulation, and keeping your balance in a wind tunnel takes some skill. But it’s quite a surprising experience, much less intense than one might fear and has nothing to do with an extreme sport. The proposed experiments are short, about two minutes, and anyone under 130 kg and over 6 years of age can access them. The cheapest package including virtual reality, offered on less busy days, is $89.95 at iFly Montreal, formerly known as SkyVenture.
“It’s still a sporting activity, but since it’s a start, you don’t need to overtrain,” explains Guillaume Cauvain, director of sales for iFly Canada, which has four centres. »
The virtual reality side has really been a new concept in itself that is revolutionizing our entire product.
Guillaume Cauvain, Sales Manager for iFly Canada
Of the approximately 100,000 people who attended an iFly center in Canada this year, 35% were under the age of 15, the kinesiologist by training specifies, and 80% were in their first experience and under the supervision of an instructor. As for virtual reality, it is offered in the 80 iFly centers open worldwide, excluding those in the United States.
Filming these scenes by installing a camera at the end of a long arm on a drone at altitude, in sometimes murky environments, was quite a technological challenge, Mr. Cauvain explains. The iFly team in Paris piloted the project. “The drone tended to be unbalanced, we had to call in an extreme drone operator to get these images. »
Built for the moment from real images, the concept could easily be rejected with other experiences filmed around the world, even with computer-generated images in imaginary environments, enthuses Jean-Christophe Ouimet, general manager of ‘iFly Montreal and instructor.
The limit is our imagination!
Jean-Christophe Ouimet, General Manager of iFly Montreal and instructor
He tells this concretely to the representative of the press, who believed that the essence of the indoor freefall experience was to struggle to maintain your balance in the pulsating air. He propels himself five meters into the air, rockets back like a superhero and spins like a trapeze artist.
“I have a lot of experience…”, the 33-year-old instructor, parachutist since 2007 and former Canadian champion in the discipline of Dynamic 2 Way with his partner Coralie Boudreault, states modestly.