COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Indoor skydiving — a fun and unique way to spend an afternoon. But, it’s also become a vital piece of training for United States Air Force Academy cadets.

“Allowing cadets to come over to try freefall in a low risk environment or a no risk environment to then get them acquainted to jump out of airplanes in the program that they have there at the Air Force Academy to learn parachuting,” said Jim Lovewell, Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC (CSCEDC) Chief Defense Development Officer.

iFly owners are all United States Air Force Academy grads and were looking for a way to give back to their alma mater.

“They decided that an indoor sky diving tunnel would be the best way to do that,” said Catherine Moore, sales and marketing manager at iFly.

This grabbed the attention of CSCEDC.

“A commercial business not only brings a unique experience and puts us on the map for yet another great venue, but this is another unique thing that we brought to Colorado Springs,” Lovewell said. “They have value added to the military and they also have value added to our community.”

It’s the relationship with the community, defense and commercial side the defense development said they want to accomplish with their defense community.

“We really want to try to bring these companies together,” said Breaena Guerrero with the CSCEDC defense development team. “There’s so much influence here in the Springs.”

To strengthen that relationship, CSCEDC will be hosting the Boot Barn Hall Defense Round-Up, bringing in CEOs and founders of successful businesses to talk about how they became prominent businesses in the community, which included establishing relationships with politicians and military bases.

CSCEDC said they’re hoping to learn from this panel and discussion as well as they hear from startups in their community.

“What’s going on in the defense community, how can we align resources…?” Lovewell said. “We may even find that there are new markets that we can explore because we have all the right ingredients here to bring something new, a new capability to Colorado Springs that will benefit both the economy, our community and the military bases.”