Paraclete XP SkyVenture is currently the largest vertical wind tunnel in the United States in terms of power and size. We aren’t kidding when we say “big”. Our tunnel has 4 fans at 541 horsepower each to give a great range of air speed for all requirements including free flying and military operations. The diameter of our tunnel is also something to be quite proud of. At 16’5″ in diameter (and 53′ tall) – this tunnel opens up all new possibilities like doing any 4-way formation and most 8-way formations with ease and first-time flyers can not only practice flying in place but learn movement over a considerable distance.
Paraclete XP SkyVenture is a re-circulating wind tunnel and thus has many advantages over the “open air” design. Due to the location of our tunnel, in-chamber temperature control is a must and we have this capability with the re-circulating design. Temperature Regulation Doors (or Louvres) give the ability to keep the tunnel warm in the winter and cool in the summer. As you can in this diagram there is a lot going on. Lets start at the fans.
2164 horsepower worth of fans push air out to the sides of the structure and past the “Louvers”. At this point we can control the air temperature for comfort in the flight chamber. Past the “Louvers” the air flows down and around back into the flight chamber – where you are currently flying. Note that in every place the air must make a turn – “turning vanes” are in place to guide it around. Because of this long trip around the structure and this series of “turning vains” the air in the flight chamber is turbulence free; giving an extact simulation of freefall. At this point the air makes it back to the fans for another trip around the wind tunnel.
The entire staff is extraordinarily professional and gracious. They are extremely safety conscious while at the same time giving everyone as much freedom as they can safely manage. A rare combination. While we (adults) were there, our instructor also suited up and trained a 2-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl.