A first glimpse at NZ’s first indoor skydive venue, iFLY Queenstown

The $15 million iFLY indoor skydiving facility is under construction in Queenstown.

Debbie Jamieson

The $15 million iFLY indoor skydiving facility is under construction in Queenstown.

A $15 million glass wind tunnel is rising from the ground in central Queenstown.

The large building on Brecon St will soon house the resort’s newest adventure activity — indoor skydiving.

It will also be a first for New Zealand.

iFLY assistant general manager Anha Boehm and general manager Matt Wong get their first glimpse inside the iFLY indoor ...

Debbie Jamieson

iFLY assistant general manager Anha Boehm and general manager Matt Wong get their first glimpse inside the iFLY indoor skydiving wind tunnel, which is under construction. It is due to open later this year.

The iFLY Queenstown is a project between SKYVenture International, which manufactures iFLY wind tunnels, and Auckland-based couple Emma and Gary Beyer, former skydiving world champions from the United Kingdom and United States.

Newly appointed general manager Matt Wong and assistant general manager Anja Boehm had their first look inside the complex this week and were impressed by its scale.

“I always knew the infrastructure was going to be big but looking at it in person, it has got the wow factor,” Wong said.

The building work had been technical and the builders, innovative.

“As far as a customer facility is concerned, it’s got the ability to be a world-class product.”

It would still be some months before the build was complete and the business could open but it was the tail end of a big project.

“It’s very ambitious and a long time in the making. We’re just seeing the end of someone’s dream for six years.”

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Wong and Boehm both have backgrounds in aviation — Wong has most recently been employed as general manager for Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters and Boehm as ground operations manager for NZone Skydive.

They are excited about being involved with a new business.

“That’s the kick I get,” said Wong. “It’s a new project and we’re building a team. It’s an opportunity for us to get the best people in Queenstown working for iFLY.”

Wong said he expected it to be successful with its central location, an amazing product, an ability to operate in all weather, and its ability to accommodate all ages — including three-year-olds.

Before business opens Wong will be spending time in Florida looking at similar facilities and how they operate.

Once open and operational he expects a staff of between 20 and 30 people will be required, including fully qualified instructors and ground crew.

iFLY technical breakdown

Model: 12R2 SkyVenture vertical wind tunnel

Air circulates with the help of two 3m wide fans each running at 500 horsepower (370 kW) which powers the airflow

Produces wind velocity of up to 270 kph in the chamber

As you get higher, the airflow slows down

The airflow is set at a slower speed for children or small adult and is instantly controllable throughout the flight

4.5m-tall tall all glass flight chamber,  3.6m diameter with a super-strong stainless steel mesh at your feet

Overall wind tunnel loop dimensions:

10.7m to top of tunnel with ducting above and below

77m length of tunnel in an enclosed loop which recirculates air (this makes it super energy efficient and very quiet compared to earlier models)

7m deep

Building overall is 12m tall from street level and approximately 576sqm

 – Stuff

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