OPEN-AIR WIND TUNNELS SAFETY

THREE LEVELS OF WIND-TUNNEL SAFETY

CONTENT

  1. Primary level safety
  2. Secondary level safety
  3. Beyond the basic safety levels

INTRODUCTION

During every flight in SuperFlight wind tunnel the number one priority is safety.

 

Primary Level Safety

Most wind tunnels that are built today are 3rd, 4th or even 5th generation tunnels and have modern safety features that first 2 generations lacked.

The two most basic rules for safety are:

  1. Always have an appropriately trained spotter at the door.
  2. Always have an appropriately trained driver in the driving booth.

Before any person is allowed to enter the vertical wind tunnel, they must attend a safety training conducted by experienced instructors. For children a parent or a legal guardian must be present during the class. Safety briefing is given by a fully qualified instructor with standardized training and safety procedure.

This means that Aerodium – the wind tunnel manufacturer – is providing not only the technology but also training for qualified technical personnel and flight instructors. In the first period after the opening of the new tunnel, the manufacturer’s delegated instructor team works hand in hand with the newly created team until the level of training reaches a safe standard of performance.

Secondary Level Safety

Newest generation open-air tunnels have high safety level features:

– more complex, advanced, circular safety net maintaining a high grade of elasticity throughout the entire surface.

– netting around the wind column. The size and height is precisely calculated to make getting outside impossible according to the laws of physics.

Air filled safety mattresses are a very important safety feature that protects the flyer from a painful landing. The area of the mattress is several times bigger than area of possible landing.

Open-air outdoor wind tunnels do not use a flight camera or a diffuser. The concentration of the wind flow is important here so that it does not disperse, which could deflect the flyers and create some safety risks. New-generation open tunnels have special flow guides that streamline the flow, preventing flow scattering. As a result, the flyer will always be directly above the stream and, in the event of any unexpected movement and deviation from the center, they will softly fall on the safety mattresses.

Depending on the flyer weight and flying skills, the operator adjusts the wind flow so that the person is always at optimum altitude and the instructor can control all movements, keep tandem position and provide 100% safety.

Noise level is also included in wind tunnel safety parameters as excessive volume hurts health. According to NIOSH, exposure to noise levels of 85 decibels (dBA) for more than 8 hours in a day may affect hearing. (And the louder the noise, the less time it takes to cause harm.) The noise level of the new-generation open-air tunnels is up to 75dBA – a level belonging to the negligible risk category and not impacting hearing. Busy road (80dB) or ride on mower (90dB) creates much more noise.

Higher quality wind flow is not only more comfortable but also has less turbulences which can move flyers outside the flow. Latests generation open wind tunnel creates smoother airflow thanks to a dedicated air channel.

Aerodium wind tunnels are equipped with spin-wheel technology, providing a smooth landing even in the unlikely case of a sudden power outage. As the fans gradually start turning slower they still give a few second time gap for the flyer to react.

Beyond the basic safety levels

Delayed Tunnel Shutdown (DTS) system. Protects the flyer from falling due to the sudden technical shutdown of the tunnel engine. An autonomous safety system provides a gradual reduction in the wind flow. The operation of this system cannot be affected by a the human factor (override by an operator is not possible). The DTS system will start to operate in this situation and land the flyer on the ground without a sudden fall.

A.T.O.M. – Aerodium Tunnel Online Monitoring system. Allows Aerodium engineers to identify serious hardware issues and to resolve them in a timely manner.All tunnels always are on the online regime for status monitoring, immediate troubleshooting and software update remotely.

Since taking over the Aerodium business from Canada in 2005, Aerodium have not registered any major accidents or long-lasting injuries (bruises don’t count) in any of our tunnels. We are continuously improving the technology to make sure that our tunnels provide the safest way of flying.

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