A Texas company that allows people to simulate skydiving in indoor wind tunnels is set to open a center in Roseville by the end of the year, following the purchase last week of land for the operation.
iFly Holdings acquired the 1.8-acre parcel near the westbound Douglas Boulevard exit off Interstate 80 and is starting work this week on a 5,000-square-foot center, said company spokesman Chris Miller.
This will be the region’s first indoor skydiving venue and iFly’s second Northern California outlet, after one in Union City. The company was founded in Austin, Texas, in 1998 and is now expanding into new markets.
The company aims to give people the thrill of free-falling from a plane – but without the dangers or costs of actual skydiving, Miller said.
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“It’s just the coolest sense of freedom – like nothing you’ve ever felt before,” he said of the iFly experience.
The company markets its venues as family fun centers, suitable for birthday parties and corporate team-building events but also as practice facilities for experienced skydivers.
Customers at an iFly center typically watch a video and receive about 30 minutes of instruction before being given flight suits, helmets and goggles.
With an instructor at their side, they step into a vertical tunnel that’s 12 to 14 feet in diameter and then “lean into this really smooth-flowing cushion of air,” Miller said. “It lifts you up and you fly.”
The company charges $69.95 for two “flights” that each last about one minute.
Unlike skydiving, there are no age limits for participation. “We fly anybody from 3 to 103,” Miller said.
The company has been growing rapidly over the past year, Miller said, and now has 11 company-owned sites in the United States with another dozen or so scheduled to open over the next year. In addition, there are several franchised operations in this country and about two-dozen affiliated centers overseas, including two on Royal Caribbean cruise ships.
The Roseville site was acquired from D&S Development, said broker Steve Edwards, who handled the deal. The purchase price was $850,000, according to public records.
Design plans for the facility were approved by Roseville city officials last week. A permit for the building foundation work is expected to be approved by July 1, according to Megan MacPherson, the city communications director.