NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IN 2020
- What is the open-air vertical wind tunnels?
- Some outdated notions about open-air wind tunnels
- What are the applicable safety levels?
- Important characteristics for mass entertainment industry
- The best choice for certain requirements
This article reveals important innovations about the future of open-air tunnel development, with an emphasis on the widespread applications and safety aspects of these wind tunnels for outdoor application. The overwiew starts with some general questions and early days technology, continue on to newer and now common technology.
With millions of viewers seeing Aerodium tunnels in action, now is the time to tell how accessible they are to everyone, thanks to their wide availability and safety. It is safety that matters the number one priority at Aerodium for every consumer who enters our wind tunnels,
say Ivars Beitans, owner of Aerodium Technologies.
Open-air wind tunnels.
Flashback to 1979 – Jean Saint-Germain invents the first open air wind tunnel for entertainment. In a room filled with mattresses people dressed in silly costumes jump in and out of the wind stream, often awkwardly hitting the padded side walls.
This is what many people imagine when hearing about an open wind tunnel, but since then Aerodium has come a long way to provide a safe and comfortable experience for everyone. With the introduction of newest O2S model Aerodium is developing the 5th technological generation of open wind tunnel technology, really advanced and really safe for flying. Seeing flying people at a height of 20 meters (65 ft) at the level of treetops, many people stare in disbelief. At this point Aerodium can safely say that the open tunnels are not only viewable for a large audience (Festivals, Shows and Brand Promotion Tours), but they have all the essential features needed for a comfortable and safe flying.
Outdated notions about open-air wind tunnels. Cons that need forget.
Early open wind tunnels as well as modern recircular type indoor tunnels produce noise peaking at 120-130 dBA. Having a glass enclosure helps damping the noise in the spectator area, thus making the recircular wind tunnels seem acceptably noisy. Aerodium’s new O2s and O3s model series manage to reduce the sound inside the flight zone to astonishing 90 dBA and just 65 dBA in the spectator area. For the first time skydivers can experience flying without earplugs! Even dense urban areas/neighborhoods can now consider having an outdoor wind tunnel.
While this is true, it doesn’t make the open wind tunnel concept less attractive. Open wind tunnels operate with a somewhat different concept as they are oriented towards entertainment of general public and families. Summer, sunshine, vacation time, why would people want to spend their day off indoors? The outdoor concept also allows creating spectacular light shows and performances for festivals, celebrations, and promotion. But for the case of Nordic weather conditions, there is always the option to integrate the open wind tunnel inside a building at a fraction of the cost of a recircular type indoor wind tunnel.
However, no beginner is allowed to fly more than 4 meters (13 ft) high and there are strict procedures put in place. Two instructors are always actively working to ensure maximum level of safety and are ready to step in, should it be necessary. Even flying at a height of 4 meters is absolutely safe. Aerodium come from an industry of extreme sports and have developed and produced safety solutions for Space X, Red Bull, and Nitro Circus. Aerodium make no compromises on safety net and cushion design and customers are in safe hands.
Most wind tunnels built today are 3rd, 4th or even 5th generation tunnels. First, 2 generations practically don’t exist, since open-air tunnels leave this category years ago.
Several levels of safety have been defined that should be met by wind tunnels used in the entertainment industry.
Important characteristics that significantly expand the application of open-air tunnels in the mass entertainment industry:
Having an easy and quick to install wind tunnel means it is possible to organize different shows, promotions, and events and use the wind tunnel to attract people to a specific location. In places with high footfall areas a permanent wind tunnel may not be feasible, but a limited time attraction and show program can greatly boost public interest and attention.
If you happen to drive or walk by and see flying people in the air, curiosity takes over and unknowingly you start watching and wondering what’s it like. Add a custom-made banner, costumes, a show program and the celebration can begin! Visibility and promotion options can help finding a sponsor for co-financing, but also attracting customers to the nearby mall or entertainment center.
Not only you have the opportunity to step into the wind tunnel business with an investment bellow 1 million EUR, but the RoI can be achieved in record time – around 2-3 years. A movable wind tunnel also means having a business exit strategy, which is non-existent for most indoor wind tunnels.
When people think of flying or free fall, hardly anyone imagines floating inside a glass tube. Without doubt, they get used to the idea when inside the tunnel, but the emotions that they get from flying under the blue sky and seeing themselves lifting up above the ground are hard to compare. For many a bucket experience, these emotions are also transferred via social sharing on Facebook and Instagram, resulting in word of mouth publicity.
Modern open tunnels have improved both in efficiency and wind flow quality. Although the wind speeds of up to 225km/h (140 mph) in open wind tunnels are average, even pro flyers can use them for different training routines. As a matter of fact, Toms Ivans who became FAI World champion in solo freestyle in 2018, has been mainly training in open tunnels.
Open wind tunnels are significantly less expensive than recircular ones, but it doesn’t mean that they lack cutting-edge features. Just like their bigger indoor brothers, they are equipped with and array of sensors, monitoring the performance, and a sophisticated IT system for tunnel and customer flow management. An integrated photo and video system allows generating automated video files for the customers. Importantly, the open wind tunnels only need an even surface and electricity connection, without performing complex civil works, such as constructing support structures and concrete casting.
Aerodium is always looking for ways to promote the bodyflying sports and to create fascinating shows and open tunnels enable performances that no other technology can offer. Olympic games ceremonies, festive events, brand promotions are just a few examples where we are bringing the WOW factor to the spectators. Working with Hollywood producers we are also shooting movie scenes and creating action stunts in our wind tunnels. Names like Jackie Chan, Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill have already had the Aerodium open tunnel experience and there are more movies to come in 2020.
Find best choice for yours certain requirements
When considering to entering into entertainment business or when there is a need to improve an existing facilities, it is always important known which wind tunnel is most appropriate for you. There are given benefits on each side and at Aerodium we see both types coexisting and being used in different applications. The final choice among other things is related to available amount of investment, needs for a seasonal or permanent solution and the location. Get in touch with Aerodium sales persons and you will gladly consulted about the options and how to start a project.