From ninja assault courses to climbing walls, trampoline park owners are always looking for new ways to expand upon the services they offer. While foam pits continue to remain extremely popular in trampoline parks, some companies have also opted to introduce airbags as an additional feature.
Where Did Airbags Come From?
Landing airbag technology has been around since the 1960s. Used in the likes of action movies, these bags provided a safer landing for trained professionals to perform dangerous stunts.
Airbags have been used by stuntmen for many years. Dar Robinson (professional stuntman and inventor of the decelerator) for example, held the world “high fall” record in 1978. He jumped 311 feet out of a helicopter onto an airbag.
The same record was later broken by Dan Koko in 1984. He was paid $1 million to jump 326 feet from the top of the Vegas World Hotel & Casino onto a 22ft custom made airbag. Reckon you could do that?
Considering that both men managed to walk away from these death-defying stunts, it’s reasonable to believe that airbags offer a lot of protection from impact. And that they do. Without the presence of these airbags, these actions would undoubtedly have been fatal.
But also bear in mind that these weren’t your average airbags. These airbags were specially constructed for the events. Once inflated they could exceed the height of an average 2 story home.
And make no mistake. These stunts were still incredibly dangerous by anybody’s standards; even that of the professionals. The slightest error, unforeseen event or miscalculation could have resulted in a serious tragedy.
Airbag Technology and Extreme Sports
While still used today in some movie stunts, the use of airbags has also been adopted by several extreme sports.
Skiing, Snowboarding, FMX, BMXing and Skateboarding are all extreme sports that can see individuals performing high-speed stunts at incredible heights.
As enthusiasts attempt to push the boundaries of human capabilities, stunts in extreme sports have become faster, higher and more extravagant.
Take Tony Hawk at the X-Games, for example. In 1999 he was the first skateboarder ever to land a documented 900 (a 900-degree aerial rotation). This was an incredible feat and it wasn’t matched by anybody until 2004.
Then, with the arrival of the Mega Ramp (which allowed for greater vertical height) skateboarders were able to top this record. In 2012 and at just 12 years old, Tom Schaar landed the world’s first 1080.
And just this year at the X-Games Minneapolis (2019) Mitchie Brusco landed the world’s first 1260 on a skateboard!
Records get made and records get broken. And with the ever-increasing danger of such stunts, the need for proper protection is fundamental. When the intention of a trick is not to ride away, airbags can offer a good means of protection against the fall.
Trampoline Parks & Airbags
Since around 2014, some trampoline parks have begun to introduce airbags as a new feature for their customers.
While airbags are sometimes marketed as a replacement for foam pits, what we often see is the integration of both into trampoline parks.
It’s said that variety is the spice of life and we couldn’t agree more. Offering your customers more attractions for their money can never be a bad thing.
Foam pits continue to remain the most widely recognised and number one choice for trampoline parks. However, if you’re considering something new to offer your customers, the introduction of an airbag could be your answer.
With that said, there are some things you’ll need to consider first before deciding if one is right for you.
Firstly, the initial investment to install a trampoline park airbag is high! It’ll cost you around £80,000 to buy an airbag that’s the same size as a regular foam pit. You’ll also need to consider the cost of installation, maintenance and the cost of keeping it running.
Also, airbags are inflated with air blowers – these can be noisy. There’s also a risk of pressure loss if the air blower becomes faulty. If the issue isn’t quickly made apparent, this can be very dangerous.
Some companies offer a blower alarm system to alert staff in this event. However, these often don’t come as standard and will likely cost you extra to install.
Foam Pits & Airbags Go Great Together!
While they are costly, we feel that airbags can make for a great addition to any trampoline park. It’s great to see them emerging in some places alongside foam pits.
Whether you choose both or would just prefer a traditional foam pit, you’ll always find reliable, high-quality pit foam here!
We’ve been manufacturing pit foam for more than 45 years; supplying to gymnastics clubs far and wide.
And since 2012, we’ve worked closely with trampoline park representatives across Europe, developing the perfect foam cubes and logs to use within their facilities.
We’re the only supplier of pit foam that offers a colour matching service. We can match your foam to approximately 1290 RAL or Pantone colours! So, whether you’re looking for bright neon colours or would like your foam to complement your company branding, we can help!
Want to know more? Then speak to one of our foam pit experts today! They can answer any questions you may have and provide the best advice to help you get what you need. Fill out the form on our contact page or call us directly on 01494 441177.