Research Council Wind Tunnel, Ottawa, Ontario - Jan. 27, 2007
time I visited the wind tunnel at the
National Research Council in Ottawa, they cranked it up and sprayed
me with water at 150 kilometers per hour. We decided we could
kick this concept up a notch by returning in the dead of winter
and doing it again. This time, the air temperature was around
-18C and I wanted to see if I could get large amounts of ice to
accumulate on me...I got my answer!!!
The ice man cometh...This is
what happens to the human body when you combine an ice storm
with hurricane force winds.
I became completely ice encrusted
in only a matter of minutes. The high winds of the wind tunnel
atomized the water droplets and the cold temperatures pulled in
from outside froze them to me instantly. I felt like a meat popsicle.
There were a few times when we had to stop the experiment: once
when one of the cameras had to have the ice chipped off it and
another when the water nozzle iced up. Since they told me that
nobody has ever done this before, we didn't know what to expect
so I wore as many layers of warm clothes as I could manage but
the real difficulty ended up be overheating. Everyone around me
was cold but I was having trouble breathing. Especially when the
ice really started to build up.
The huge fan blades of the wind
Inside the main control room.
Getting suited up and prepared.
Safety crew checking my breathing.
After about 15 minutes of being
harnessed in the tunnel, the ice buildup had gotten so bad that
I wasn't sure if my air supply was going to be completely cut
off and I knew that it was going to take at least a few minutes
for them to chip me out so as soon as I started feeling my air
getting choked off, I gave the signal to abort the experiment.
Waiting for them to get me out of there was some of the longest
minutes of my life. I had to shout as loud as I could for the
crew to hear me and it was difficult to relay the message that
I needed fresh air NOW.
OK, That's it. Time to chip
It's good to be able to breathe
Luckily, I had a great safety
crew there with me (John, a fireman and Marc, a paramedic. Thanks
guys) They rushed in and used an ice axe and hammer to chip the
ice off my helmet and pull away my clothing to a point where I
could breath again. Definitely a unique experience.