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Scope Series 4 RTÉ Two, Thursday, 7.00pm

Airkix – Indoor Skydiving

AirkixAirkix is the first purpose built indoor wind tunnel in the UK. The tunnel features a 3.66m diameter flight chamber with wind-speeds of up to 274 km/h. The height of the flight chamber and diffuser – the flying area – is 10m.

As it is important to keep the flyers comfortable, Airkix incorporates the very latest technology to recirculate the air, keeping it at a constant condition whatever the outside weather.

The tunnel is powered by four 250-horsepower motors situated at the top of the structure. There are enormous aluminium banks of turning vanes inside that smoothly turn air around corners in straight lines. This removes the turbulence.

The air is forced through an inlet contractor up into the flight chamber. The inlet contractor squeezes the air into the chamber at normal flying speeds of about 161-177km/h.

The air travels through the clear acrylic walled flight chamber and on up through the diffuser before hitting the turning vanes at the top that turn the air left and right into the huge fans which push the air out into the top corners. It is then turned on its downward path through the return air towers.

At this point warm air can be forced out of a huge door and cool air sucked in from an opposite mounted door. The air then gets a final turn at the bottom corners before the cycle starts again at the turning vanes back into the inlet contractor.

The setup is simple: the tunnel has two open doorways into the ante chamber (in effect, the outer chamber) which can seat up to 15 people. Inside the flight chamber is the invisible airflow and all is calm in the outer chamber.

The flight chamber has a sprung floor made from aircraft standard steel wires. The instructors will spend much of their time walking on the floor as they look after flyers.

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