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  • Man in 457 mph Wind: “Human Tolerance to Wind Blasts” 1946 NACA Langley Research Center

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    “Test conducted in 1946 where a human subject was exposed to blasts of air. The test was performed at NASA Langley Research Center’s 8 ft High Speed Tunnel.” Silent.

    Public domain film from NASA, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.

    Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet’s atmosphere into space. Winds are commonly classified by their spatial scale, their speed, the types of forces that cause them, the regions in which they occur, and their effect. The strongest observed winds on a planet in our solar system occur on Neptune and Saturn.

    In meteorology, winds are often referred to according to their strength, and the direction from which the wind is blowing. Short bursts of high speed wind are termed gusts. Strong winds of intermediate duration (around one minute) are termed squalls. Long-duration winds have various names associated with their average strength, such as breeze, gale, storm, hurricane, and typhoon. Wind occurs on a range of scales, from thunderstorm flows lasting tens of minutes, to local breezes generated by heating of land surfaces and lasting a few hours, to global winds resulting from the difference in absorption of solar energy between the climate zones on Earth. The two main causes of large-scale atmospheric circulation are the differential heating between the equator and the poles, and the rotation of the planet (Coriolis effect). Within the tropics, thermal low circulations over terrain and high plateaus can drive monsoon circulations. In coastal areas the sea breeze/land breeze cycle can define local winds; in areas that have variable terrain, mountain and valley breezes can dominate local winds.

    In human civilization, wind has inspired mythology, influenced the events of history, expanded the range of transport and warfare, and provided a power source for mechanical work, electricity and recreation. Wind powers the voyages of sailing ships across Earth’s oceans. Hot air balloons use the wind to take short trips, and powered flight uses it to increase lift and reduce fuel consumption. Areas of wind shear caused by various weather phenomena can lead to dangerous situations for aircraft. When winds become strong, trees and man-made structures are damaged or destroyed.

    Winds can shape landforms, via a variety of aeolian processes…

    8-Foot High Speed Tunnel

    As interest in the field of high-speed aerodynamics increased in the early 1930s, Langley’s existing wind tunnels proved too small and underpowered for effective high-speed aircraft testing. Understanding that a new facility would give U.S. engineers a decided advantage in the aeronautical field, Langley’s director of research George W. Lewis authorized the design and construction of a larger high speed wind tunnel in 1933. Construction of the 8-Foot High Speed Tunnel (HST) was funded by the Public Works Administration (PWA) and completed in 1936 at a cost of $266,000…

    The world’s first large high speed tunnel, the HST proved vital during World War II…

    …Wind-blast experiments

    Stapp also participated in wind-blast experiments, in which he flew in jet aircraft at high speeds to determine whether or not it was safe for a pilot to remain with his aircraft if the canopy should accidentally blow off. Stapp stayed with his aircraft at a speed of 570 mph (917 km/h), with the canopy removed, and suffered no injurious effects from the wind blasts. Among these experiments was one of the first high-altitude skydives, executed by Stapp himself. He also supervised research programs in the fields of human factors in escape from aircraft and human tolerance to abrupt acceleration and deceleration…

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