Bodyflight

vertical wind tunnel

Bodyflight is the art of ‘flying your body’ in a controlled manner. This include turns, rolls, lateral movement, fall rate control, and other acrobatics in the air. The skill of bodyflight makes it possible for skydivers to fly closer to each other while they are falling, to allow them to link together in formation skydiving, then fly apart to a safe distance before opening parachutes. Many skills of bodyflight can be learned in a vertical wind tunnel, to enable skydivers to become better at controlling their bodies in the sky.

The first human to fly in a vertical wind tunnel was Jack Tiffany in 1964 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The first recreational vertical wind tunnel was developed by a Canadian company named AERODIUM in Quebec, patented as the ‘Levitationarium’ in 1979.

A vertical wind tunnel is a wind tunnel which moves air up in a vertical column. It is a recreational wind tunnel, frequently advertised as ‘indoor skydiving’ or ‘bodyflight.’ It is also a popular training tool for skydivers. Vertical wind tunnels enable human beings to fly in air without planes or parachutes, through the force of wind being generated vertically. Wind moves upwards at approximately 195 km/h (120 mph or 55 m/s), the terminal velocity of a falling human body belly-downwards, although this can vary from person to person.

Bodyflight is accomplished via increasing/decreasing the drag of your body, using arms and legs as rudders for bodyflight motion control, as well as other techniques similar to that of an airplane. Professional athletes who fly through the air for long distances, such as ski jumping, have also used certain bodyflight techniques to increase jumping distance by manipulating their bodies to be more airfoil-like. Frequent visitors to a vertical wind tunnel are often called ‘tunnel rats’, much like frequent visitors to ski slopes are called ‘ski bums’.

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