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Double tunnel design coming to San Diego

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http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/24/airborne-skydiving-downtown-east-village/


Skydive ride heading downtown
Two 30-foot-high wind tunnels to simulate free falls, no parachute required
By Roger Showley
6 a.m.Sept. 24, 2014
Updated11 a.m.

Airborne San Diego would feature glass-enclosed skydiving experience where two 30-foot-high tubes would use compressed air to simulate freefalling. / Carrier Johnson + Culture

Now Airborne America plans to build San Diego's next extreme-sport tourist attraction:

Skydiving in a 30-foot-high glass tube.

Buzz Fink, a longtime Coronado resident who operates the Skydive San Diego parachute jumping school near Otay Lakes, plans to build a $10 million, 21,368-square-foot facility with two wind tunnels in East Village.

"Everybody wants to skydive but a lot of people don't want to jump out of a plane," Fink said Tuesday.

Civic San Diego, the city's development arm, posted the project on its agenda for Wednesday's board meeting. Pending issuance of city building permits, construction could begin at 14th Street and Imperial Avenue near Petco Park with opening late next year. It would be the nation's only two-tube wind tunnel attraction.

"Hopefully, we would like to do it in more than one location," Fink said. "We've spent a lot of money on the pre-design and taken time to make sure it's state-of-the-art."

For about $60, you'd don a jumpsuit, helmet and goggles, receive a few minutes of instruction and then step into a glass tube 14 feet in diameter. Novices, from toddlers to oldsters, would float 5 to 6 feet off the ground for two one-minute flying simulations, powered by a 30-foot-wide fan that generates 60 mph winds. An instructor would stand by -- and if the power fails, you'd simply float gently back to earth.

Proficient fliers could rev up the wind to 180 mph and float 30 feet into the air with seven other buddies.

"We picked East Village because it's an up and coming area," Fink said. "It's next to the trolley and bus lines, convention center and ballpark. We thought it would be a great location."

But going airborne isn't only for locals bored with the beach and tourists wanting to get off their feet.

Brent Srock, Airborne America's operations director, said a special training area will be set aside for Navy SEALs and other military personnel where they can learn to free-fall before graduating to parachute jumps.

"They're begging me to open this," Srock said, because the trainees currently have to travel to wind tunnels as far east as Colorado for similar training.

Joe Terzi, president of the San Diego Tourism Authority, said he and his wife and two daughters tried out a similar ride in Las Vegas.

"It's not as easy as it looks," Terzi said, since riders have to learn to spread their arms and legs to take advantage of the wind flow. But he pronounced the experience fun.

Would it appeal to visitors?

"If marketed appropriately and the experience is good, I think it would be another reason for tourists and convention visitors to spend time in San Diego," Terzi said.

Fink, 53, spent 13 years as director of fleet recreation at North Island Naval Air Station and founded Skydive San Diego, which organizes thousands of parachute jumps annually. He was an owner of Sky Venture Orlando, now known as iFly Orlando, before selling out his interests.

Aerolab, a Maryland wind tunnel engineering company, and local architect Carrier Johnson + Culture are designing the San Diego project. Srock said the site is being purchased for less than $2 million and the building will cost nearly $10 million. He said as many as 10 other facilities might be opened around the country over the next five to seven years.

Besides the two wind tunnels, Srock said, a Bubba Burger restaurant and gift shop will be located on the ground floor, and party rooms and training rooms will occupy the second and third floors.

Srock said the building will be about 70 feet high with the mechanical equipment occupying the top 40 feet above the tubes. An additional 50 feet or so of space will be excavated below the tubes, where the air will be compressed and directed by turning vanes to eliminate "dead zones" where the lift effect is absent. The giant fans will be located in adjacent concrete bunkers.

"You'd never know the facility was running when standing outside," Srock said.

Carrier Johnson said in an architectural description that the Airborne San Diego facility's three-story atrium would create a "cathedral-like experience."

"The building celebrates the achievement of human flight, and its architecture is a reflection of the principles of aerodynamics that facilitate it," the firm said.

Between 70 and 90 people are expected to make up the staff; hours of operation are projected to extend as late as midnight. The admission price has not been, set but the iFly Hollywood at University CityWalk Hollywood charges $59.95 for two one-minute flights and $99.95 for a four-minute package.

"It's like the most fun you'll ever have," said Steven Straley, the lead instructor.

Fink, who previously performed as a professional hypnotist, also is an owner of EcoBusiness Alliance, which won a $12 million judgment against the San Ysidro School District related to the cancellation of solar panel installations.

His Skydive flight school, located on Otay Lakes Road in Jamul, has reported several deaths and injuries over the years in parachute jumping accidents.

A veteran skydiver died in March when his parachute failed to open as he was trying an advanced free-fall technique. Another experienced skydiver died in July when his automatic parachute deploying device did not activate. Fink said he currently operates four planes that accommodate 18-23 jumpers each. They skydive from 13,000 feet up.
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Seems like a no-brainer with lots of military work nearby.

So this isn't an iFly tunnel: http://www.aerolab.com/

Judging by the brief in the logo competition, Buzz has plans to branch out.

Sounds like it is being built in a rough neighbourhood though? From another article (that didn't mention the double tunnels?)

Quote

"It's overdue," said downtown resident Lee Alirez. "All you ever see around here is drugs. My daughter walks to school and we walk through needles."


Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

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Yep, very heavy industrial neighborhood close to major railyards, 1/4 mile from I-5 and within about 3 miles of two airports.

In the end I imagine the location has enough good points to justify the investment - I would think traffic in the evening wouldn't be bad since most everyone is gone by 5:00 pm.

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Yes, its been floating out there for years that iFly has claimed original US patent rights to most modern vertical wind tunnels designs. Designs like Flyaway in TN/Vegas, the old Ft. Bragg tunnel, portable tunnels and the L1 outdoor tunnel in NC were not in their area but look at one of the patents that they own:


http://www.google.com/patents/US7156744


Its pretty broad since it covers both one and two return designs like what iFly currently builds and at least roughly like what ISG builds.

The patent basically says any design that is quiet enough to be in a residential or shopping area and uses a single or double return design is covered.

With the new ISG design being built in Arizona and this new design I would expect iFly to fight this to maintain their Intellectual Property rights.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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Weren't the people that built iFLY Orlando the first to develop the idea/concept of indoor skydiving and offer the experience to the public?

Subsequently they expanded into the Skyventure company?

Relative noob here with ideas on how it all began but anticipate folks here can improve my understanding of the history of what I am "happily hooked" on now.

Thanks in advance for additional info.

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The neighborhood is a little shaky right now, but east village San Diego has been cleaned up significantly and is now very nice and highly desirable. The mess starts around 10th street, with this tunnel being on 14th. I don't think it will take long before the gentrification expands another 4 blocks. I think Buzz knows what he's doing here.
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I've lived in San Diego all my life. The East Village area has been built up heavily over the past 10 years, starting with the construction of Petco Park. Its becoming an "up and coming" area....I'm guessing if they do it right it could be a good combination of local skydivers and tourists.

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stayhigh

Skyventure thinks that they are going to sue them once these tunnels starts making money.

Hope they lose. We need something other than McDonalds, we want a Burger King, and Taco Bell right next to McDonalds.



I love me some Skyventure/iFly tunnels, but I agree for selfish reasons. The prices to fly have increased so much over the years, and they can since iFly dominates the market. I'm hoping that either competition or tunnel saturation drives those prices down some.
There's a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning

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interesting.

I really would like to see something built by science windtunnel engineers, not by skydivers. Last generation of tunnels (both iFly and ISG) are great, actually not much could be done better, from my point of view.
So maybe these guys will find a way to make bigger tunnels with less consumption? :)

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Vallerina

***Skyventure thinks that they are going to sue them once these tunnels starts making money.

Hope they lose. We need something other than McDonalds, we want a Burger King, and Taco Bell right next to McDonalds.



I love me some Skyventure/iFly tunnels, but I agree for selfish reasons. The prices to fly have increased so much over the years, and they can since iFly dominates the market. I'm hoping that either competition or tunnel saturation drives those prices down some.

This ^

Prices in Skydive Arena in Prague and even more so in the tunnel in Slovakia have come right down due to competition in Europe. The more competition, the better it is for us tunnel flyers.

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Time will tell the tale on serious competition - probably quite a few years before the current flurry of tunnel building would cause negative side effects because of tunnel time pricing competition levels that drive prices flyers pay near to break even or below cost.

That would seem great at first.

BUT

Negative side effects could (not for sure) be compromises in tunnel hardware or facilities maintenance and reduction of positive attitudes demonstrated by tunnel staff due to lower pay.

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wan2doit

Weren't the people that built iFLY Orlando the first to develop the idea/concept of indoor skydiving and offer the experience to the public?

Subsequently they expanded into the Skyventure company?

Relative noob here with ideas on how it all began but anticipate folks here can improve my understanding of the history of what I am "happily hooked" on now.

Thanks in advance for additional info.



IFLY and Skyventure are one in the same. IFLY denotes a corporate tunnel. If it is a "Skyventure" tunnel it is a franchise tunnel but built by the same people.

I am pretty sure I have that right. Most tunnels now are IFLY bc they are moving towards corporate tunnels and away from franchise opportunities..... that is what I was told.
Life is all about ass....either you're kicking it, kissing it, working it off, or trying to get a piece of it.
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wan2doit

Negative side effects could (not for sure) be compromises in tunnel hardware or facilities maintenance and reduction of positive attitudes demonstrated by tunnel staff due to lower pay.



Maybe, but one thing that I find strange is the differences in pricing for Skyventure vs iFly. For example, Skyventure AZ is $750/hour without coaching (quoted from the website, yes I'm aware that it can be bought cheaper.) iFly Denver is $825/hour. I don't know about maintenance or staff at AZ, but assuming it's equal to Denver, I'm curious to know the logic behind the pricing structures.
There's a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning

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It might not be.. if it's a 30 foot fan at 60mph but the 'test section' where we all feel the love is, say, 14 ft then for a constant mass flow rate (which it would have to be for a recirculating tunnel) the velocity in the 14ft bit would be over 200mph. That's gotta be one huge-ass diffuser though (like 80ft+ long-ish).

The other issue is that such large fans have a large moment of inertia so they'll take a long time to get up to speed and also slow down which will require a big torque from the motor and tus massive currents.. so yeah.. dunno (if the facts are correct) that it's a well thought-out design.:)

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jverley

Quote

powered by a 30-foot-wide fan that generates 60 mph winds.



I think it might be a bit underpowered.




PhreeZone

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/24/airborne-skydiving-downtown-east-village/
Proficient fliers could rev up the wind to 180 mph and float 30 feet into the air with seven other buddies.


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