LEVITATIONARIUM FOR AIR FLOTATION OF HUMANS
Patent No. 4,457,509
Issued: Jul. 3, 1984
Inventor: Jean St-Germain, St. Simon, Canada
Assigned to: Airflite, Inc., Las Vegas, Nevada
An installation such as in the form of a building having a room or chamber in which an upward air flow is produced to levitate human beings. This installation, herein called a levitationarium, is constructed and arranged to be simple, safe and economic to operate in particular by comprising a blowing propeller that is shrouded and arranged to produce an induced suction flow in an annular air passage around it, under the action of the direct flow by the propeller inside the shroud; by having a toroidal air passage arranged for closed circuit streamline air flow serially through it and the levitation chamber; and by including a toroidal core portion interposed between the levitation chamber and the toroidal air passage and providing a spectator gallery and access to the levitation chamber.
A visitor to this website sent the following note:
I just saw your website about unusual patents and wanted to tell you that I think I have "flown" in one of these devices.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a tourist town in the Smoky Mountains and there you can find a company called "Fly Away". For about twenty dollars, you can suit up like you are going skydiving, without the parachute.
In the levitationarium, the floor is a net suspended over a very large fan. When the fan is turned on, you get into a freefall type position and float on the air currents. I only tried it once, but was able to rise about 10 feet into the air for just a few seconds.
Another visitor notes:
Just saw your page about the Levitationarium patent. Perhaps not as wierd as you might think, but certainly a lot of fun, so perhaps wonderful. There are actually quite a number of vertical wind tunnels around the world. You can find more information about their history in the "Vertical Wind Tunnel" article on wikipedia and also via the bodyflight network at http://www.bodyflight.net/. It has links to pretty much all of the vertical wind tunnels around the world.
I believe that Aerodium was the original Canadian company that developed this particular wind tunnel design, and it was the first for this purpose. There is also an Aerodium in Latvia in which I have flown. The state of the art in wind tunnels today is SkyVenture, which started with a prototype tunnel in Orlando, but there are now locations throughout the US, Europe and Asia. The largest vertical wind tunnel in the world that is used for body flight is at Bedford in the UK, and is converted from an old British military facility. L1 is another modern design. I believe that both SkyVenture LLC and L1 hold several patents on their designs.
Vertical wind tunnels have become a very useful tool in training skydivers with many top jumpers having spent considerable time training in wind tunnels. I'm a skydiver myself, and have spent a reasonable amount of time flying in tunnels for my relatively short skydiving career. Levitationarium is an old design, and I haven't seen one exactly as described on your website, however, Aerodium in Latvia is probably the closest I've seen in terms of how it is likely to perform. I believe there are a few tunnels of similar design in the US and elsewhere in Europe.
Tunnel time tends to be expensive, although cheaper than the number of jumps to get the same amount of freefall time. The $20 mentioned by your other visitor would not get you much more than 1 or 2 minutes of flying time. At a typical modern wind tunnel, you should expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of US$200 or more for 10-15 minutes of flight time.
And still another says:
FYI, I have also 'done' Fly away twice, here is more information on them:
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