Airkix in Milton Keynes (now known as iFLY) was the first European indoor skydiving tunnel of its kind upon opening in 2005.
Air is circulated into a flight chamber and after standing in the open doorway and leaning forward, the user’s legs are lifted from under them and they are safely elevated into a horizontal flying position.
Gibbons was awarded a full turnkey package of removal, repair, rewind and re-installation of one of the four fans located in the top corner of the tower. The aim was to maximise energy efficiency and extend the service life of the equipment.
Vibration levels from the fans had been monitored over several years, providing valuable information and allowing for repairs to be scheduled. Although the shutdown was planned six months in advance, the window to complete the work was just five days.
Gibbons provided the client with an hour-by-hour plan regarding the shutdown period and undertook several surveys in advance, including a full vibration analysis.
To enable removal of the fan, the impeller was stripped to its component parts to allow it to be extracted from the building.
A contract lifting plan was carried out, using a fully-mobile telescopic boom to extract the 7,000-kg fan unit. Gibbons’ engineers then carefully stripped down the unit on site, separating its three main components which were transported to our workshop in Essex.
In just three days, Gibbons carried out a full motor rewind and bearing replacement before the fan was rebuilt and transported back to site.
On the final day, Gibbons provided a second contract crane lift and re-installed the fan through the building’s roof. The fan was checked for balance and vibration and a full set of data recorded for future analysis.
Before leaving site, Gibbons’ engineers celebrated a job well done with an indoor skydive of their own!