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Being a tunnel instructor means being part of an exciting, fun and dynamic working environment. But the job also implies enduring hard physical work for relatively long periods of time, working irregular hours and long shifts. Tunnel instructors should act as strong team players and the job requires skill, dedication and a necessary portion of social intelligence, guaranteeing safety and good customer service at all times.

Tunnel operations and air flow dynamics

As a tunnel instructor, you will without a doubt get customer questions about the more technical aspects of tunnel flying and tunnel operations. Without being an expert on the matter, you have to be able to explain the basics about the tunnel’s construction and airflow dynamics.

You also have to be able to perform safety inspections, start-up procedures and basic tunnel maintenance such as exchanging worn or damaged cables of the net as a part of your everyday routine. Any proper instructor course will cover these basic daily wind tunnel operations, so you are capable of checking and running the tunnel and its systems.

Tunnel time management

Tunnel time management is a key concept on the job. Respecting strict time frames and customer cycles is important, not only from a customer service point of view but also for peak efficiency and thereby business economics. Tunnels sell valuable minutes! 

A typical “customer cycle” includes

  1. Welcoming customers
  2. Orientation about the building’s facilities, a rough explanation of the experience they are about to embark on and an explanation of the time frame
  3. Filling out waiver forms
  4. Gearing up
  5. Briefing
  6. Flying
  7. Debriefing
  8. Handing out flight videos and / or photos
  9. Saying goodbye to the customers

Gearing up customers

Proper gear is essential for safety and comfort during flight. Make sure your customers remove all loose items and provide them with a jumpsuit, goggles, a helmet and ear protection and check if they are wearing appropriate shoes. All gear must fit properly and be in good condition. Always check for wear and tear and need for repair and take damaged or improper gear out of circulation straight away. 

You’ll assist your customers with de-gearing after flight and make sure all equipment is retrieved and put back in place. To be time efficient, you can give feedback to your customers about their performance while doing so. Remember that many first time flyers come for an exciting and one time only experience – encouragement and compliments will send them home with pride and smiles, spreading a good word about the facilities. Focus on positive feedback rather than what they could have done better. Everybody can fly.

Classroom procedures

Before flying, you will give your customers a thorough briefing about what they are about to experience, and inform them about their own responsibilities during the process. This improves the safety of everybody involved, but is also key to the customer’s enjoyment and the sense of being taken care of. Keep tunnel time management in mind. Instructing a class should not take longer than 30 minutes. 

Classroom teaching requires skill and social intelligence, and as an instructor you will without a doubt get better and more efficient with practice and experience. Displaying confidence in your own abilities and always maintaining a friendly and professional attitude, even throughout a long and busy day, are some of the most important features to project at all times.

Control room duties

Tunnel instructors have to be able to take shifts as an air flow controller. This position is just as critical to safe tunnel operations as being an instructor. Air flow controllers have to continuously observe the instructor and the flyers as to intervene in an appropriate manner, while at the same time monitoring the tunnel machinery.

It is very important to work closely together with the instructor or coach inside the tunnel, use clear and efficient communication and make sure all flyers have a safe and enjoyable experience.