Wind Tunnel in Ashburn VA (NoVA Area)

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Looks like DC region is gearing up for a wind tunnel of their own.

"If all goes according to plan, Peterson Cos. should receive a building permit in late July to early August for iFly, and adrenaline seekers would take flight by the end of this year."

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Back in the news today


ASHBURN, Va. — Thrill-seekers looking for an alternative to leaping from an airplane will soon be able to fly in a more controlled environment.

By February 2016, customers of the iFly Indoor Skydiving center will take flight in its 45-foot tall, glass-encased cylindrical wind tunnel in Loudoun County.

“It’s wall-to-wall air flow,” says Patrick Framel, vice president of development. “You can fly to the left, you can fly to the right, you can fly up near the top — you will not fall off that column of air.”

The three-story building is several weeks into construction, and will eventually be outfitted with four huge fans in its ceiling, which will keep fliers airborne.

“It’s exactly like a free-flowing sky dive,” says Framel. “I’ve done 500 sky-dives from an airplane — if you close your eyes inside that chamber you can’t tell the difference.”

The facility is being built along Virginia Route 7 adjacent to the new Top Golf, less than a mile from the One Loudoun development. County government and business leaders were on hand Tuesday morning for an official groundbreaking.

In an area stocked with offices parks, “what you didn’t have was real entertainment, unique entertainment, that would draw you to Loudoun – not something you could get in Anywhere, USA,” says Taylor Chess, president of development for Peterson Companies.

The company and its affiliates operate at 37 locations with 13 more currently under construction.

Framel says fliers have ranged in age between 3 and 103. All will have an instructor present until they demonstrate mastery of skills needed for safe flying.

Most initially learn to fly on their torsos, says Framel.

“The first thing you learn from your flight instructor is stability,” he says. “You learn the body position before you get in the chamber, and you’ll learn to fly in a stable position.”

“Next you’ll learn to fly forward and backward by moving your arms and legs and to spin around.”

After displaying proficiency, customers can fly with their friends in the chamber, he says.

Chess expects the project will continue Loudoun County’s attempt to offer more than expanding residential communities.

“What it needs is more entertainment and other reasons to stay here in Loudoun, as opposed to feeling you need to go into D.C. or Tysons,” he says.

The price for a first-time flyer package is expected to start around $69 and includes two flights, training, gear and flight instruction with a certified instructor. Family and group/special event packages will also be available.

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