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Aerodynamics of Free Fall

This workshop will help you understand how aerodynamics affect free fall and how advanced wingsuit technology can take advantage of this. The first half of the workshop will take place at the $100 million ACE Climatic Wind Tunnel, where you will learn about wingsuit design and have the opportunity to experience the implications of design first-hand at high wind speeds. The second half of the workshop will take place at the IFLY Indoor Skydiving facility where you will better understand terminal velocity through interactive labs followed by the opportunity to fly!  

Aerodynamicist Martin Agelin-Chaab, PhD, will teach the workshop (inspired and co-designed by Aerospace Engineer Angelo Grubisic). Dr. Agelin-Chaab will lead you through a full day of the science behind free fall and wingsuit jumping. Say goodbye to the classroom: this interactive workshop will have you problem-solving within two world-class wind tunnels.

Wingsuit flying and testing.

Workshop content

  • Presentation - The Physics of Wingsuit Flight - 8 to 9 a.m.

    CFD Wingsuit Models

    This introductory presentation will open your eyes to the adrenaline-filled world of wingsuit building, antenna, span and earth (BASE) jumping and proximity flying—everything from what a wingsuit is, to the mechanics involved when taking a leap of faith from the edge of a cliff while wearing one.

    Topics:

    • Intake stagnation.
    • Conservation of angular momentum.
    • Wingsuit stall and its effects.
    • Vortex lift generation.
    • Aero-elastic wing behaviour.
    • High-performance computing and computational fluid dynamics.
    • Shear stress and separation characteristics.
    • Drag and lift development.
    • Compensation GPS flight profiles.
  • Station 1 - Wingsuit Design Competition - 9:15 to 10:45 a.m.

    Wingsuit designs

    In this hands-on activity, you will design model wingsuits using aerodynamic principles and test them in ACE’s model wind tunnel! The objective will be to create a suit that produces the highest lift-to-drag ratio, which will translate into the furthest distance travelled for the wingsuit wearer. Participants will need to think about wing parameters such as camber, aspect ratio, winglets, planform and performance parameters such as co-efficient of lift, drag and angle of attack.

    The competition will include:

    1. Benchmark wind tunnel test for all teams.
    2. Time for suit design and build.
    3. Wind tunnel Test 1.
    4. Time to make adjustments on design.
    5. Wind tunnel Test 2.
    6. Competition results.
  • Station 2 - Wingsuit Pilot Competition - 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

    Wingsuit wind tunnel testing

    In teams, participants will examine and choose a wingsuit from a selection varying in size and characteristics. From your team you will select a pilot who will be secured on ACE’s custom wingsuit force balance and measured at high speeds for lift and drag. Pilots will be coached by their teammates on what position to hold in order to maximize their lift to drag ratio of the suit at increasing wind speeds. The team that coaches their pilot to achieving the best average lift and drag ratios will win! 

  • Station 3 - IFLY lab and Flight Experience - 1 to 5 p.m.

    IFLY flight experience

    Hop on a bus and let us take you to IFLY in Whitby, Ontario! First, take part in an interactive lab, where you will calculate the terminal velocity of different objects and test your calculations in the IFLY Wind Tunnel.

    Following the lab, you will take part in IFLY Flight Experience. This will include classroom free-fall training, time to gear up, and a one-minute flight in the wind tunnel (the equivalent of the free-fall portion of an actual skydive).

  • Workshop learning objectives
    • Understand how drag forces are exerted on solid objects by a moving fluid.
    • Explore how these concepts affect our activities, such as swimming, cycling, running and wingsuit jumping.
    • Apply university-appropriate mathematical principles to wind tunnel measurements and discover relationships between fluid drag and other variables.

About the Instructor

Martin Agelin-Chaab

Martin Agelin-Chaab, PhD, Aerodynamicist

Dr. Martin Agelin-Chaab has taught fluid dynamics and automotive aerodynamics at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology for the past six years. He is passionate about teaching and has won teaching awards for his efforts. He also conducts innovative research in bluff body aerodynamics, thermodynamics and energy systems. His research work has been published in high-impact journals.

About the Inspiration

Angelo Grubisic, PhD, Aerospace Engineer and Extreme Sportsman

Angelo Grubisic

I’m having to push to achieve what I want. Trying to make the impossible, possible. That is what engineering is about.

Angelo Grubisic

Inspired by his skydiving grandfather, Aerospace Engineer Angelo Grubisic fell in love with the high-risk sport of wingsuit BASE jumping. And he’s using his engineering knowledge to apply aeronautical principles to this extreme sport.

Angelo is developing the world’s most scientifically engineered wingsuit, capable of smashing records. For the first time ever, he and his team at Southampton University are simulating wingsuit performance and applying engineering design principals to create the ultimate suit.

His goal is to move the sport forwards and set world records for human flight: for the highest altitude, longest flight time, fastest speed and longest distance flown.

Safety Requirements

  • If you have ever dislocated a shoulder or have a history of heart, neck or back problems, please contact us.
  • If your weight exceeds 230 lbs (104 kg), please let us know prior to confirming your reservation.
  • You are not pregnant.
  • You are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • You are not wearing a cast.
  • You have signed a liability waiver at both ACE and IFLY. 
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