“Is sick! Stupid! Really upset! Those few words scribbled in our notebooks when we exited the skydiving simulator were repeated over and over on the ride home. As if our young testers and we could not assimilate the experience we had just had. “It was so nice,” Violette, 9, and Sarah-Ève, 7, chorused.
The indoor skydiving offered at iFly Montreal has intrigued us since the opening of the facilities in Laval in 2009 under the name SkyVenture Montreal. An activity we had put on our list of things to try one day.
In the past, a few minutes to live the experience. Excitement turns to worry. What if we can’t fly? “Does it ever happen? we ask, a little worried, Jean-Christophe Ouimet. “No, answers the director of iFly Montreal, our instructor for the day. Of course, the progress is different from person to person. But, really, it’s not that difficult. The key is to be calm.”
“Relax…” we repeat, doubting our ability to relax.
But it’s such an important guideline that it’s one of the few things the instructor teaches participants before they enter the powerful (and loud!) vertical wind tunnel. Relaxation, stretching or bending the legs, raising or lowering the head, extending the arms are the indications we will need to fly today.
After donning red suits, helmets and earplugs, our trio is ready to experience their first free fall simulation. A vote, the outcome of which we are still disputing, determined that the oldest would start first.
To our surprise, we acquire the flying position quite easily. Led by Jean-Christophe Ouimet, we even quickly felt… relaxed. Flying is not scary at all. It is quite exciting, as evidenced by our smiles and laughter throughout the activity.
You don’t have to be in great physical shape to live the experience. “The range of customers is really very wide,” says Jean-Christophe Ouimet. From 3 to… 94 years old, the age of the oldest customer welcomed in Laval.
over the mountains
After a few basic flights lasting one to two minutes, it’s time to try the novelty: virtual reality. “In the wind tunnel, we have the same position as in free fall. We do the same maneuvers. We have the same thing feeling. Visually, it really adds a layer to the simulation,” explains the facilities manager, who often takes professional skydivers.
Seven videos are offered as part of the iFly 360 VR experience. For example, it is possible to fly over snow-capped mountains, a canyon or the sea as a winged flight (suit of wings).
I have been skydiving for several years. I’ve done a ton of wind tunnels. Regardless, I was really surprised. […] The simulation is really good.
Jean-Christophe Ouimet, Director of iFly Montreal
We never went skydiving, unlike our instructor who did about 4,000 jumps, but we really enjoyed the virtual reality experience. To fly over a waterfall like a bird without experiencing the anxiety of jumping into the void is wonderful! This last flight was also a favorite of our two young testers.
For our part, we preferred the times when our instructor would have us sit higher up in the wind tunnel and then come back down. The adrenaline rush was energizing.
A whole sport
“It’s not just a thing to check his bucket list ”, says Jean-Christophe Ouimet, about the iFly experience. A phrase that makes us smile thinking about our list.
“Flying on the stomach is the basis. But you can fly on your back, upside down. There is a lot of work to learn. It is more than something to try. It’s really a sport,” he continues.
a sport, body flightwhich he possesses perfectly, he who has already been the Canadian champion in the discipline of Dynamic 2 Way.
At the end of the session, he gives us an impressive demonstration of his knowledge. He spins through the air before flying like a superhero and flying upside down.
To reach this level, we will need many hours of training. However, a challenge Sarah-Eva seems to relish, who would like to go back “a million times over”.
Different packages allow you to live the iFly 360 VR experience, which is intended for people aged 6 and above. Prices start at $89.95 for three flights, including one with virtual reality.