Mar 28, 2001, 10:43 PM
Post #1 of 12
Wind Tunnel Expectations
I went to a *new* Wind Tunnel with the hopes to gain confidence and correct a problem encountered at level 4. I brought along 8 co-workers with the intention of them giving a taste.
Because the wind tunnel was new and had ‘teething’ problems I only got one 4 minute session and wasn’t able to go again before leaving town.
I weigh approx 190 lbs. None of us who weighed over 140lbs were able to get any lift. The instructor, who looked like he was about 140lbs, was getting great lift. Most of us spent the entire 3-4 minutes with two instructors holding our ankles while we had our faces in the wire mesh that protects participants from the fan. I was one of the few that weigh over 140lbs who could get a tiny amount of lift by using the ‘two instructors at the ankles technique’ combined with a lot of strength ‘cupping an imaginary ball’ with my body (as in what I understand may be a ‘slow fall’ body position).
I had the impression from wind tunnels in the movies (e.g. Cut Away) and my imagination that a tunnel would have enough power to support a relaxed, ‘fast fall’ position. I’m trying to learn to relax, not tense up! Normally do wind tunnels have enough power to do this, or is it ‘normal’ to have to do a cupping, tense, ‘fast fall’ position to get any lift?
From everything I’ve heard about how wind tunnels are great training tools, I’d love to get into one again – but this time with the correct expectations. What should these be? (e.g. How many classes to be able to get lift and be able to maintain a heading?)
NG, I have been to three vertical wind tunnels (vwt's): FlyAway at Pigeon Forge, TN; SkyVenture at Orlando, FL; and the Army's vwt at Ft. Bragg, NC. The FlyAway vwt was the least powerful of the three. I had to wear a big, air-inflated suit (which they provided), but it was good training nonetheless. That visit was 13 years ago; I weighed about 200 pounds then. My visit to SkyVenture was only 1.5 years ago, my bodyweight now 225. I could wear my own range of jumpsuits and fly comfortably, unless it was windy outside which created "trashy" winds inside the tunnel (the tunnel air is inducted directly from outside). Also, if it's raining outside, it's raining inside! The nice thing about SkyVenture is the mirrors on the wall about 8 feet up inside the tunnel - you can park in front of them and look at your body position while you fine tune it. The Army's tunnel at Ft. Bragg, which you saw in "Cutaway," is by far the biggest and most powerful, but of course you have to be a Military Free Fall jumper (or student) to use it. Remember that it is more difficult to fly in the vwt than in free fall . . . that's part of what makes it a great training tool. Hope this helps!
I went to the windtunnel in florida which has the fans at the top of the tunnel and I had no problem. I weigh about 145 lbs, but there were people in there that were much heavier. Typically what they do is turn up and down the fan as needed. Did you see a fan operator in there working the controls??? Maybe that was the problem. But there shouldnt be an issue with getting you in a nice relaxed arch position. Where was this???
i guess or they have a really low air speed or they use too tight suits, at the wind tunnel in israel we wear specaiall really baggy air suits and it works great and they have a pretty high air speed, i heard of some win tunnel that they use speciall "sails" attached from your ankle to your wrist cuz they have such a low air speed
u said this is a new wind tunnel, maybe they just haven't figured out yet what kind of suits r suitable for that specific wind tunnel and it's speed level they can get out of it.
I've only been to the one in Orlando FL (Skyventure) , and you could have been in there with just your street clothes & the air would support you, as long as you remain more or less belly down. I weigh 150, but there were people in there who weighed 200 & had no problems. Try Skyventure: they really know what they're doing there and you don't have to wear a balloon suit. It's better if you wear your own RW suit in there, especially if you have booties (which you should for RW). Otherwise you're stuck with the rental suits which aren't that great.
I've been to the Flyaway in Vegas. Yes we had to wear the baggy suits, but all the instructors just wore sweats without problems. I never got the sense that the fan wasn't powerful enough to support someone. There was a pretty big guy bouncing off the top and bottom mesh with no problems at all.
Thanks everyone - that gives me a better idea of what to expect.
I purposely omitted the name as I didn't want to slag off a wind tunnel just because of my inability. However, it does look like they need to fine tune some stuff. It was:
Terminal Velocity Stoke on Trent, UK email@example.com Tel: 01782 765440
I heard rumors they had some problems that day and were worried that the drive shaft had warped - or something like that. So maybe they were keeping it low. I also heard they closed their doors at least once due to the neighbours complaint of noise. (Obviously the neighbours were not sky divers!) Sounds like they were having a tough go of it. Too bad - wind tunnels being so rare, I hate to see any troubles.
If I do make it back that way, I will go again (if they still exist). But before paying my $$ (or pounds that is) just make sure that any lack of lift isn't due to the power of the fan.
Sound like they are having a rough time over there. That has got to be pretty embarassing if you are an instructor there. A student pays all that money and the instructor bounces them across the wire mesh. Exciting! I hope they get some better luck.
Yup - Not only is that the place, but that's also the instructor we had! We wore the same suits as the guy in blue. Any of our guys that were the size of the guy in blue spent their time on the wire mesh as well.
According to my log we were there July 17, 1999 - some time back. I believe we were the first clients they had.
Good to hear they are open again - hopefully all is working well now.
Tell em you weigh more thn you really do and they will probably turn the fan up some-LOL - I was told to stop d arching so I could get lift last time I was at one. SO TURN THE FREAKIN SPEED UP ALREADY!