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Dancing in the air

Over 200 elite proflyers are showing off their indoor skydiving skills at the Wind Games 2017 in Spain – and ABB is powering the event behind the scenes

Today the atmosphere is buzzing with awe and excitement as the Wind Games competition has taken over the village of Empuriabrava in northeast Spain. From the 3-4 February, over 200 elite indoor skydivers from around the world are competing in different disciplines ranging from speed races to formation skydiving to freestyle where skills and precision matter the most. The latter especially – the freestyle skydiving – is mesmerizing to watch with talented proflyers merging dance, art and aerobics together to create spectacular performances.

The Wind Games is regarded as the unofficial world championships of indoor skydiving, and it’s held this year for the 4th time, which Windoor Realfly, Spain’s first wind tunnel business, initially started. The organizer has grown the Wind Games year after year to attract more competitors from over 120 countries with over 215 million online viewers watching the live stream of the event. Kudos to Windoor Realfly and its active indoor skydiving community for making the event go viral!

So what is indoor skydiving, you might ask. The sport is the very same as a freefall jump out of a plane – except for the jump. Instead, you step into a wind tunnel chamber and the upward airflow takes you up in the air right away. In Windoor’s 15 meters high wind tunnel up to 8 people can fly at the same time in a space of 4 meters in diameter. The wind force in the chamber is similar to that of a freefall, and it can vary from 150 km/h to 300 km/h in a fraction of a second depending on what type of discipline a skydiver is performing.

This extreme – yet perfectly safe – indoor sport is quite popular within professional circles as well as for the rest of the crowd. A great deal of people book their holidays just to come and try Windoor’s wind tunnel, which is one of the fastest wind tunnels in Europe. And the business seems to be blooming with more wind tunnel projects on the way in the near future.

For all that airspeed and flow, the wind tunnel here at Empuriabrava is operated by 4 large fans requiring impeccable precision and reliability from variable speed drives controlling them. With any downtime, it’s a huge loss for the business operating 12 hours each day as a typical round of a 1-minute flight in the wind tunnel costs around 50 euros.

It’s been a unique experience to witness the Wind Games at first hand, with each team and competitor captivating their audience with amazing performances. You can watch the recordings of the competition here.

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