AUSTIN, Texas, January 14, 2013—iFLY announces today that its newest indoor skydiving location in Austin, Texas, is ready to commence flight operations. iFLY Austin is the first indoor skydiving facility to open in Texas and features the world’s most advanced wind tunnel for flyers of all ages and capabilities. Customers will have the opportunity to soar in wind speeds of up to 150 mph within the 14’ diameter and 50’ tall glass flight chamber.
“The reaction from the Austin community about our anticipated opening has been overwhelming,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Stuart Wallock. “The secret is now out about the meaning of the large banner posted on our construction site several months ago, www.guesswhatthisis.com. The guesses from the community were very creative. No, it is not an antigravity chamber, but close. Now, we are receiving a multitude of inquiries and reservations from our newly launched web site www.iflyworld.com.” He continued, “Our digital holiday gift cards have been a big seller as unique holiday gifts for first-time flyers and now we are booking family outings, birthday parties and corporate events.”
The experience of indoor skydiving mimics the exact experience of free fall skydiving without the parachute or the risk. Customers fly accompanied by a certified instructor, flying at their own level of comfort, from a few feet off the ground with basic belly flying to more aerial gymnastic maneuvers at greater heights. To date, over five million customers worldwide have flown in the company’s wind tunnels, ranging in age from 3 years to 103 years.
The new iFLY indoor skydiving facility is located at “Austinville” North retail center on Highway 183 just a few miles north of the Arboretum. Said Wallock, “Our new facility features a beautiful glass enclosed conference room with full multimedia capabilities for intimate team building and corporate events. This is the perfect place to take a team to build camaraderie or impress a client. We also have a party room to host birthday parties for all ages.”
iFLY Austin is the company’s 24th location in operation and will serve as the flagship model for the company’s future wind tunnels in the US, Canada, Australia, France and the UK. iFLY will launch its new flight school programs, photo and video technologies, and new operating software applications at the Austin facility. They will also hold world-class indoor skydiving competitions at the tunnel, bringing another international sporting event to Austin.
iFLY is the world’s largest and most advanced manufacturer and operator of vertical wind tunnels. Twenty-four iFLY tunnels currently operate in nine countries around the world, in commercial entertainment, professional skydiver training, and military training venues. iFLY’s unique designs, innovative technologies and well-known brands are patented and trademarked in over 138 countries.
The company has built or is building tunnels in the US, Canada, UK, Spain, Russia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, France, Australia and Brazil. iFLY tunnels currently operate in some of the hottest deserts (four in UAE, one in Spain, one in Arizona), in the coldest regions (Moscow, New Hampshire & Montreal), and at some of the highest elevations (2300 meters above sea level in Malaysia) in the world.
iFLY: Stuart Wallock, 512.351.7767, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Special Operations Forces Free Fall Simulator Facility will be built at Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona. It will feature a 16.4-diameter, 2000 HP wind tunnel—the largest available in the world, and ideal for military training and professional skydivers. The general contractor is Pilkington Commercial, of Yuma.
“We are very pleased to be working with the US government and Pilkington Commercial on this project,” said Tyler Andrews, project manager at SkyVenture. “This will be a state-of-the-art facility, using the most efficient and reliable wind-tunnel design in the world.”
The two-floor facility will feature a flight chamber with all-glass walls at ground level and SkyVenture’s patented wall-to-wall airflow, creating a large enough training space for up to eight people to belly-fly at once. It will be powered by four high-efficiency axial fans mounted in the upper leg of the tunnel, the optimum location for safety, efficiency and durability. The facility will also include SkyVenture’s active cooling system that will maintain a comfortable flying temperature of 75ᵒF regardless of outside temperatures.
Target completion for the project is December of 2013.
SkyVenture is the world’s largest and most advanced manufacturer of vertical wind tunnels. Twenty-three SkyVenture tunnels currently operate in nine countries around the world in commercial, entertainment, professional skydiver training, and military training venues. SkyVenture’s unique designs, innovative technologies and well-known brands are patented and trademarked in over 138 countries.
The company has built and is building tunnels in the US, Canada, UK, Spain, Russia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Australia and Brazil. SkyVenture tunnels currently operate in some of the hottest deserts (four in UAE, one in Spain, one in Arizona), in the coldest regions (Moscow, New Hampshire & Montreal), and at some of the highest elevations (2300 meters above sea level in Malaysia) in the world.
Stuart Wallock, 512.351.7767, email@example.com
“We couldn’t be more excited about bringing iFLY, and the thrill of indoor skydiving, to our home town,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Stuart Wallock. “Austin is a perfect location, with a huge population of active, adventurous people that will find the experience invigorating.”
But you don’t have to be a daredevil to fly at iFLY. The experience of indoor body flight mimics the exact experience of free fall skydiving without the parachute or the risk. To date, almost five million customers worldwide have flown in the company’s wind tunnels ranging in age from 3 years to 93 years. Customers fly accompanied by a certified instructor and fly at their own level of comfort, from a few feet off the ground with basic belly flying to more aerial gymnastics maneuvers at greater heights based on level of experience.
The new iFLY indoor skydiving facility will be located at “Austinville” North retail center located on Highway 183 just a few miles north of the Arboretum. iFLY will neighbor with other family-friendly local businesses such as Amy’s Ice Creams, Phil’s Ice House and Sweet Ritual Bakery. Along with being a great family activity, iFLY indoor skydiving is also perfectly suited for team-building, children’s birthday parties and aerobic exercise that mixes right into Austin’s culture.
Wallock added, “iFLY Austin will be our seventh company-owned tunnel and the model for our future franchise locations in the US, Canada and the UK. We will utilize the Austin facility to launch our new flight school programs, photo and video technologies, and new operating software applications. We also plan on holding world-class competitions for the growing sport of indoor skydiving.”
iFLY Austin is the newest addition to the iFLY global franchise. It is highly themed as an entertainment attraction and represents the latest innovations in wind tunnel design, safety, efficiency and aesthetics. The recirculating model with patented active cooling for climate control is the most efficient wind tunnel design in the world. The tunnel is also outfitted with an automated, state-of-the-art HD photo and video recording system, letting customers take their flight experience home and share online with their friends.
iFLY is the world’s largest and most advanced manufacturer of vertical wind tunnels. Twenty-three iFLY tunnels currently operate in nine countries around the world, in commercial entertainment, professional skydiver training, and military training venues. iFLY’s unique designs, innovative technologies and well-known brands are patented and trademarked in over 138 countries.
The company has built and is building tunnels in the US, Canada, UK, Spain, Russia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, France, Australia and Brazil. iFLY tunnels currently operate in some of the hottest deserts (four in UAE, one in Spain, one in Arizona), in the coldest regions (Moscow, New Hampshire & Montreal), and at some of the highest elevations (2300 meters above sea level in Malaysia) in the world.
iFLY: Stuart Wallock, 512.351.7767 x9200, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 28,2011 -
iFly Singapore, the world’s largest indoor skydiving wind tunnel on Monday revealed that more than 28,000 people have experienced the thrill of flying at its Sentosa facility and revenues have hit S$5 million since it opened in May this year.
“I founded iFly Singapore because I wanted to bring the thrill of flight to everyone. So it is truly gratifying to see flyers come out of the wind tunnel beaming and wanting to go for another round,” said Founder and Managing Director of iFly Singapore Lawrence Koh.
The youngest flyer the 56.5ft by 16.5 ft wind tunnel has seen was seven years old and the oldest was over 80 years old. iFly has also hosted serveral famous flyers and visitors including seven time F1 world champion, Michael Schumacher, the Red Bull Toro Rosso F1 team, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Returning Officer of the 2011 General Elections and CEO of the People’s Association Mr Yam Ah Mee, and former Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo.
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November 8, 2011 –
On the drive home from the Seattle-Tacoma airport (SEA) after my latest trip to speak at various innovation events, I noticed a large building by the side of the freeway advertising Indoor Sky Diving. The sign peaked my curiosity to investigate what indoor sky diving could possibly mean and so I set up a visit with iFly Seattle co-founder Lysa Adams.
My visit surfaced three key innovation-related concepts I would like to discuss:
1. Challenging Orthodoxies
Rowan and I talk a lot here on Innovation Excellence about how challenging orthodoxies is one way to identify insights to drive innovation efforts, and it made me wonder:
Have they successfully challenged the skydiving orthodoxies that you need the following to experience the thrill of skydiving or ‘flying’?
To jump out of an airplane
To carry and deploy a parachute
To learn several parachuting skills before progressing to sky diving
What if you could experience experience sky diving without the parachute and the airplane and the training?
Well, after my visit it was clear that iFLY and SkyVenture have successfully challenged these orthodoxies with the indoor flying centers they’ve built here in Seattle and 22 other locations around the world including Hollywood, Dubai, and Singapore.
The facility itself seemed to be well-designed, recycling the air through two fan-driven intersecting circles of air that are accelerated from about 30mph through the basement up to 100-160 mph through the chamber up and back around again. Integrated into the space around the necessary apparatus are meeting rooms for corporate team-building events and party rooms for private functions. Organizations as diverse as Microsoft, Boeing, and the military have used the facility. It’s a pretty a cool facility and it was even a fair amount of fun just to watch others fly from the integrated viewing area.
So what is indoor skydiving and how can you experience the thrill of skydiving and ‘flying’ without the plane or the parachute? Well here is a video that shows an amateur learning the basic skills in their first session:
In a vertical wind tunnel people are able to fly in any of the four different skydiving positions – stomach, back, sitting, and head down (after mastering the previous one) – supported by wind speeds typically of 100 miles per hour or higher (an indoor hurricane). The vertical wind tunnel at iFly Seattle is state of the art, allowing wind speeds of up to 160 miles per hour.
I had the opportunity to learn how to fly and try it out for a couple of minutes, and I looked pretty much like the novices in the video above. I was flying successfully by my second minute, floating up beyond the reach of the instructor temporarily, and never felt any of the fear I might have felt if I had done my ‘flying’ by jumping out of an airplane. It was an amazing experience, and I could see how it could be very addictive.
So other than challenging orthodoxies, what does any of this have to do with innovation?
2. Changing Perspectives
Innovation often comes from looking at things from a different perspective, or from observing something potentially valuable to your target customers in another context that you can adapt and bring to them as a new solution offering.
This change in perspective can come from using creativity tools like Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ or other tools like mind mapping, brainstorming, brainwriting, SCAMPER, SIT, or from building and tapping into a Gobal Sensing Network.
Or it can come from physically changing your orientation. In the case of sky diving, sometimes sky diving teams have to get down on their bellies on wheelie boards on the concrete to show each other the tricks they plan to do in the air or in the vertical wind tunnel. It’s hard for the brain to imagine in a vertical orientation what is going to take place in a horizontal orientation, and this simple physical shift makes all the difference. If it doesn’t come natural to our brains to imagine the horizontal from the vertical, imagine the trouble our brains have imagining different business contexts without being immersed in them. We often have to go see the other context for ourselves as a result, but a Global Sensing Network can help avoid this need to some extent. But this requirement to see things for ourselves highlights something very important. Because changing perspectives presents a challenge for our human brains, it presents an opportunity for us to work to achieve competitive separation.
Imagine the competitive advantage your organization could build over the other organizations in your context if you could build up your perception shifting muscles to recognize the relevant challenges and opportunities in other geographies and contexts faster than the competition?
3. Tunnel Vision
Do you remember what is like the first time you learned to drive a car? Do you remember how much you had to focus on every little detail from how hard you were pushing the accelerator to how fast you were moving the steering wheel left or right? But how much attention do you pay to these things now?
It came to me as I was staring at the vertical wind tunnel and talking with Lysa Adams about the challenges that beginners have when they learn to jump out of a plane and deploy a parachute, that when it comes to the human brain we have tunnel vision while learning a new skill. This tunnel vision, caused by our lack of experience, causes us to focus on a very small subset of parameters in the environment and makes it impossible for us to notice a lot of the other things going on around us or to focus our attention more broadly.
When it comes to innovation, most organizations suffer from innovation tunnel vision because as they look to involve more employees in their innovation efforts, they don’t give their employees the opportunity to learn and practice new innovation skills. Instead in many organizations we expect employees to just be innovative.
When it comes to creativity skills that tap into our right brain capacity, it is important to remember that as we master right brain skills they move to the left brain. And, when your left brain is occupied, then the right brain can go into a more creative mode. This is why you have many of your most creative ideas in the shower, or while you are driving, etc.
When the left brain is occupied it is less likely to intervene and criticize the ideas your right brain comes up with while they are embryonic and partially formed and kill them before you develop them further. When the left brain is not jumping in and trying to determine whether the ideas are logical or not, the right brain can focus on pure creativity.
This is why it is so important to create things like a common language of innovation, a shared innovation vision/strategy/goals, and to have a structured innovation process. If these things are all very clearly understood across the organization, then your innovation tunnel vision opens up a bit wider to allow you to identify more relevant insights and come up with better ideas. But you can’t stop there. If you want to engage all employees in innovation in your organization (or even a subset), and you want to open up the innovation tunnel vision in your organization even wider, then you must provide innovation training to every employee in the organization (or your chosen subset).
The faster you can get your employees to a level of comfort with your innovation language, vision/strategy/goals, process, and tools, the sooner they will be driving innovation with their knees, eating a Big Mac, and changing your innovation soundtrack – all with the windows down letting in new stimulus and fresh air into your innovation efforts.
Every organization has innovation tunnel vision, the question is how wide or narrow your field of vision is and how much you’re doing to pry the blinders farther apart.
We all are innovative in our own way, which is why I created the Nine Innovation Roles.But at the same time, we all have a certain level of innovation capacity, and if we develop that capacity we can achieve much more. If you want to get better at innovation as an individual or as an organization, you must learn new skills and you must practice them. Otherwise you will be an innovation belly flier forever. Thanks to Darren (my instructor at iFly Seattle – who used to be involved with Cirque du Soleil) and to Lysa Adams I was able to fly for the first time, but if I want to progress to back flying or sit flying on the way to head down flying and doing tricks, I must practice – in the same way that you must practice innovation in your organization. To conclude, I’ll leave you with this video of one of the instructors showing off and some team flying:
If you ever get the chance to try out indoor skydiving or ‘flying’, I highly recommend it as an amazing, fun experience. The cost runs about $60 for some basic instruction and a couple of instructor monitored flights (without the whole parachute or jumping out of the plane part). Happy innovating (or flying)!
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