Tunnel Design


product design history1 Tunnel Design

Over the last ten years SkyVenture has designed and built six generations of wind tunnels, each improving upon the original. As a testament to the design and technology, all models are still in operation around the world generating revenue and profit.

The first SkyVenture was a single-pass open flow wind tunnel built in Orlando, FL, in 1998 as a prototype and proof of concept. This breakthrough design included wall-to-wall airflow which eliminated the possibility of flyers falling off the column of air.  For additional safety, it included an enclosed staging area and a trampoline floor of aircraft quality stainless steel.  This was the first vertical wind tunnel to use multiple, smaller fans for reliability and efficiency.  These innovations launched the modern vertical wind tunnel industry.  The company built four of these which were huge successes, enjoyed by professionals and novices alike.  iFLY Orlando is still operating 365 days a year and is producing record revenue and profit.

For the second generation, we challenged our engineers to make the tunnels larger, faster and more efficient. Like the first generation, these new tunnels were single-pass, but with round rather than faceted flight chambers.  This design resulted in the fastest wind tunnels in the world at the time enabling the new sport of “VRW” or “Vertical Relative Work.”

SkyVenture’s third generation was the world’s first dual-loop recirculating wind tunnel. This hyper-efficient design used less than half the power of its predecessor and its patented air-exchange system provided climate control.  Horizontally mounting the fans allowed a 25-year design life with a near zero maintenance requirement.

Our fourth generation tunnel included  a one-piece all-acrylic flight chamber.  The single-loop recirculating design, allows placement of the flight chamber on the ground in the center of a shopping mall or in front of an existing building.  This was the first vertical wind tunnel designed from the viewpoint of the spectator rather than the flier.

The fifth generation improved our dual-loop wind tunnels with larger, stainless steel, round flight chambers and patented active cooling for climate control even in some of the hottest places on earth.  We also included a state-of-the-art, intuitive control system.  Flight groups can be exchanged while the tunnel is still running. Fifth generation SkyVenture units are the most efficient vertical wind tunnels ever built.

Our sixth generation is focused on delivering the most spectacular entertainment experience possible.  Our engineers removed all steel from the flight chambers which are now made from some of the largest curved, tempered laminated glass ever cast.  These flight chambers are five, six or seven meters in diameter and between four and eight meters tall.  These tunnels are simply mechanical art.