How do air dancers work

The Physics of the Inflatable Tube Man | Feature

Doron Gazit

From the October 2017 issue

Because a 1998 Plymouth Breeze no longer turns heads as it once did, used-car salesmen are masters of countless attention-grabbing gimmicks. Among the tactics, no shtick is simultaneously as eye-catching and absurd as the spastic flail of a perky nylon tube with vaguely human features.

Doron Gazit

Known as a Tall Boy, Fly Guy, AirDancer, or, more commonly, “that ridiculous thing,” this used-car-lot staple might be the pinnacle of lowbrow marketing, right up there with “buy a car, get a gun.” But there’s a load of no-nonsense science behind the tube man’s random yet seemingly unending pop-and-flop routine. There’s also some brilliance in the simplicity of the thing. A conventional fan turning at a constant speed blows air up through the lightweight nylon sleeve, resulting in pressure fluctuations inside the tube sufficient to incite an AirDancer’s signature samba.

Doron Gazit

The tube-man concept originated with 60-foot-tall two-legged figures created for the opening ceremony of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It didn’t take long for capitalism to nab the idea. Today, you can buy your very own six-foot version for just $120—as we did.

The behavior is explained by Bernoulli’s principle, a fluid-dynamics tenet derived from Newton’s second law of motion. It states that as the velocity of a fluid increases, its pressure decreases. Initially, the moving air, which behaves as an incompressible flow in the open-ended AirDancer, creates enough pressure to inflate the tube. As the tube stands more upright, the turbulent air inside flows more freely and its speed increases until the decreasing pressure can no longer support the mass of the nylon fabric. The collapsing material creates a kink in the tube, a constriction that causes the air speed to temporarily slow and the pressure to rise again. The elevated pressure drives the bend upward, sending a shimmy through the AirDancer and restarting the cycle. -6 feet), but it’s not even a competition once you factor in the AirDancer’s ability to pitch and roll about its base, effectively quadrupling its TGF.

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Air Powered Dancers & Why Every Business Needs One

Air Powered Dancer Tube Man - A Must-Have for Every Business

There are not many cheap signs that help you begin creating impressions right away. Our inflatable air powered dancer tube men and a variety of advertising flags are one of those unique items that actually cost very little but help tremendously. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has concluded that on-premises signs cost much less per impression than any other form of advertising.

These dancing tube men can help you increase foot traffic by up to 20% (if not more) by using it daily at your storefront. Surveys done have shown that on-site signage typically increases foot traffic between 20-50%, compared to  8% for the newspaper, 2% for radio advertising, and 5% for television advertising.

If used properly, these sky dancers can help a new business grow quickly or they can help break through that sales plateau for existing businesses.

What is an Inflatable Tube Man?

An inflatable tube man is a tube that comes with a face, body, arms, and hair. The typical size is 18feet high for an air powered dancer, with an overall height of 20ft with the air blower motor.

The motor will blow air through the body of the puppet, which then shoots out through the arms and head of the dancer. When the air flows through the fly guy, it makes it dance around by having its body and arms bend in different directions. This motion is what distracts eyes to your location then the text on the body is what creates your impression.

The complete body of the air-powered dancer can be customized with your own designs, which include full-color logos, live images, and any other PANTONE or PMS color you would like to use.

Air Blower Motor

The blower is simply a casing with a 1 horsepower motor inside. You usually will have two settings: 1 for standard use and another for windier days. Setting 2 will allow for more power output to have your air powered dancer resist a little more air.

Power is required to start up the air blower so for most uses an extension cord is typically needed. Since the noise is considered loud, you would want to use it at least 20 or more feet away from your front door.  Sidewalk and parking lot use is highly advised for optimal visibility and impressions.

The top of the air blower will have a velcro attachment around the circumference. The inflatable tube man will come with velcro at the base to attach to this location. Tightly fasten the base of the puppet to the outside rim of the blower, plug in the power, and put it to setting 1.

What Makes Our Inflatables Better than the Competitors?

There are several key things that make Feather Flag Nations tube men better than the rest. The first and most important is that we craft and import our own materials. We’ve crafted our inflatables polyester material from the ground up and we continue to improve it batch by batch. This flex material is the best for tube men because it allows for printing of full-color graphics and it also doesn’t deteriorate quickly like nylon.

We also do not sew our graphics to the body (some of our competitors call it “embroidering”, which isn’t correct), so unlike our competitor’s “air dancers” that you see on the web, our graphics will not start peeling off over time. You can actually grab this material, punch it, hug it, and abuse it. Unlike nylon, our material will not pop, unless you actually are trying hard to do so.

We also craft our custom inflatable tube men in-house. Yes, we make them in the USA. This means great quality control, high-quality craftsmanship, customer service by an American, and quick support for any issues that you may have.

Oh, and when you purchase from us, you will be stimulating the American economy, not China or another foreign location.

We don’t use Nylon material.  

This is important! Never buy an inflatable tube man that is made of nylon. We tried this, it doesn’t last long, it’s a horrible material for any inflatable.

Nylon fades quickly, you have limited colors, forced to sew letters and graphics (could not be printed on), had a limited life span, and graphics eventually started flying off. Nylon was never designed for use as an inflatable.

The black tube on the left is made of a nylon material with the letters sewn on. This inflatable air powred dancer man was used for a few months outdoors. You can notice that the nylon material has lost its texture, the graphics have already begun peeling off, and the material itself just looks very damaged and bad.

The image on the right shows our inflatable tube man, which has the graphics directly printed to the material. Notice how the color is not getting that glossy textured look. The colors look bright and vibrant. The black is not turning into a glossy gray and none of the graphics are peeling off!

How unprofessional would your business look when people see letters peeling off your air powered dancer? Stop wasting money on low-end inflatables that turn into the trash after a few months of use. Stop restricting your branding to save a few dollars. Brand your business or promote your product properly, with a professionally designed full-color custom tube dancer. Your image is everything, stop ruining it with low-quality goods from China or other foreign places.

Air Powered Dancers: Quick Returns on Investment

Now that we know a bit more about a dancing tube man, let’s discuss numbers. If you have one of our competitor’s 18 diameter air blower with the Velcro attachment, then you can simply buy a replacement tube man for $149.99. We will even give you free shipping on orders over $150.

Let’s say to break even, your sales have to be three times what you spent on the dancer. That would only be $14.99 in extra sales per day for a whole month to have a return on your investment. This is easily doable by almost all businesses.

Most can even make their money back in a few days (Furniture stores, tiles, hot-tubs, electronics, etc). You’ve made back your investment within the first month, now the remainder of the days will be free advertising. With a properly designed and placed wind dancer, you can increase your traffic by over 20% with ease.

More clients, more sales, and more profits for only $149.99? No business would want to pass up on this opportunity. This is why every business needs an air dancer.

Our website currently has all items marked down 20% or more. Order over $100 and use coupon code SAVEMONEY to get free shipping on your order. This blog was updated October 2020. Requirements for free shipping are subject to change. Buy now and save!

How to Maximize Impressions with an Air Powered Dancer Tube Man

Air powered dancers are great on their own but to maximize impression and foot traffic to your door, pairing them with some of our advertising flags is recommended. Our stock flag banners are great for low budgets or our custom feather flags and rectangle flags for larger budgets. Remember, custom flags with your business logo, product, and slogan are a must for branding. Your brand is your image, portray it professionally.

Have any questions? Contact Us! Send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 1 (877) 900-5692. We are open M-F from 8am-4:30pm PST


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Why air dancers are a tribute to Trinidad and Tobago. An excerpt from a book about cities

"The city in detail: how the modern metropolis really works" consists of six chapters, each of which has three to six sections, and in each of them there are three to eight stories about the elements of the urban environment . The host of the popular, award-winning radio show 99% Invisible breaks down everything from road markings, power poles, specially made uncomfortable benches, and more. In the above passage, we are talking about signs and signs.

The vast majority of graphic design in our field of vision is advertising. Most of it can probably be ignored. For a 99% Invisible podcast, this is atypical advice, but unless you wall yourself off from all this mass-produced junk, you might miss the really original commercial design that gives the city a special character and energy.

Broad strokes. Handmade

For most of the 20th century, sign makers shaped cities with their own hands. Building after building, sign after sign, they meticulously crafted the graffiti in barbershop windows, billboards, and even municipal road signs. Such specialists were called artisans, not artists, because they created signs that served a practical rather than an aesthetic function. In some cases, visual appeal may be part of the sign's function, but in most everyday situations (such as speed limit or stop signs), legibility, clarity and simplicity are critical.

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Experts and enthusiasts can tell from a sign the skill level of its author. A master typewriter can draw a rounded letter like "O" with a squirrel-hair brush in just a few strokes, while beginners can make dozens of strokes and spend much more paint on the same task. For projects, speed matters. When working piecework, the craftsman had to think first of all about earning money: he often painted signs, hanging against the wall of the building in inclement weather. It was very hard work - and not only from a physical or aesthetic point of view. To create signs, it was necessary to have a punchy character and be able to sell. Some artists traveled to different cities, offering their services to local businesses. As a rule, in every major American city there were several dozen professionals who owned certain styles and techniques of the craft and the skills of transferring small images to larger surfaces.

With the spread of illustration software and other new technologies, hand-drawn signage has not completely disappeared, but the use of vinyl and plotters has revolutionized the industry. With the advent of large-scale printers, making a sign has become relatively easy. The user could now type in a series of letters and get exactly those letters in the output, large in any desired font. Vinyl decals are arguably easier to maintain, and don't wear out with regular window cleaning like hand-drawn letters. By mid 19In the 1980s, machine-dominated sign and sign making was lowering the bar for craftsmanship: sign design and production is now available to everyone, whether or not they can create a beautiful sign. One way or another, the face of cities has changed, and traces of this phenomenon can be seen in films made before, during, and after the paradigm shift.

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However, many of the old handmade signs still survive. "Older signage has a special longevity," says Laura Fraser in an article for Craftmanship Quarterly. According to her, signage "to a large extent shapes the aesthetic character of our cities and landscapes, creating a visual archeology of the place where we live." Even having lost their commercial function, they tell the story of past eras. "The look of each decade and region is unique: Ouija board typefaces for ouija boards, bold black enamel letters, winking cartoon characters, colorful cutouts, bubbles and stars, swirls and climbing flowers, or a glossy, minimalist design."

But every new technology causes a backlash, and every new trend is followed by the opposite. Today, more and more often there are new handmade signs - fashion boutiques, cozy coffee shops, food trucks, high-quality grocery stores. These natural letters have a nostalgic appeal, but perhaps there is something else behind their popularity. Imperfections, traces of brush strokes and the individuality of the sign make the viewer think that a living person was behind its creation, who sought to make it both functional and beautiful.

Pipe benders. Neon Lights

Various skyscrapers form the skyline of beautiful downtown Oakland, California during the day, but at night one of them shines much brighter than the others. Tall and narrow, the Tribune Tower is built of brick and topped with a mansard roof covered with copper. But what truly distinguishes this tower from other buildings is shining neon. On each of its four sides, the word TRIBUNE is written in bright red letters. In addition, the four clocks show the time with luminous numbers and hands. Highly visible neon elements now attract attention not only for their brightness, but also for the fact that they are rarely used in modern construction. But neon was once commonplace: its flickering illuminated cities around the world, and traces of those times have survived to this day.

Tribune Tower

© SnapASkyline/Shutterstock/FOTODOM

Neon was opened in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. The gas got its name from the Greek word νέος ("neos") - new, and soon this discovery became widely used in new technologies. The pioneer in the use of neon in signs was the French inventor Georges Claude, who at the beginning of the 19th century created a sign for one of the hairdressers in Paris. In the 1920s, his Claude Neon company introduced neon advertising to the US. K 19In the 1930s, neon spread all over the world: there were 20,000 neon signs in Manhattan and Brooklyn alone, most of which were made by Claude Neon.

The components of a neon sign are simple: glass, electricity and gases, most of which come from the air we breathe. Red is popular in signage, in part because it is the natural color of glowing neon. The blue color is also popular, but it is achieved by using argon with mercury added, so it's not technically a "neon sign". Other colors are obtained by mixing other gases or by adding a luminescent powder coating to the inside of glass tubes.

Neon was originally used to decorate high-end establishments and trendy restaurants, but as it spread, cultural interpretations changed. Decades later, as the suburbs expand and the centers decline, neon has increasingly become a sign of second-rate establishments and a shimmering metaphor for urban loneliness. Screaming brilliance over a dubious nightclub or crackling lamps on a diner's wall are associated with vice and decadence. In 1950s photographs, San Francisco's Market Street looks as vibrant as the Las Vegas Strip. Then at 19In the 60s, the desire to clean up and beautify the area led to most of the neon tubes being removed. The same thing happened in other cities, including New York, which used to be a neon metropolis too. In some places, such as Hong Kong, restrictive laws have contributed to the gradual removal and replacement of many neon signs.

Hong Kong, 1960

© Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At the same time, many historians, preservationists, artists and other artists continue to defend neon on historical and aesthetic grounds. "Nothing beats neon," says John Vincent Law, who has been a neon sign maker in Oakland for many years and maintains the Tribune Tower signage, among other things. He states, "Other light sources don't give off the hazy, otherworldly spectacle that neon does." But he also understands neon's critics, acknowledging that some people "considered it a tasteless and ugly representative of that dying commercial spirit that is so unpleasant to them."

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Despite today's thriving LED market, neon is experiencing a renaissance. Pipe benders — craftsmen who manually heat and bend straight glass tubes into letters and shapes — still have a lot to do. These craftsmen typically source four-foot-long (about 120 centimeters) tubes from manufacturers and then draw a pattern in which they will be bent, usually moving from the center of the letter or other shape outwards. Then they heat the tubes, remove impurities from them, fill them with gas and connect them to a power source. It's hard and expensive work, and that's part of the reason why broken neon signs are usually replaced with LEDs.

Most large neon signs on city streets are painstakingly made, one letter at a time, and usually by local pipe benders. Even signs that are mass-produced in China are mostly shaped by hand. When they break, it's expensive to call for repairs or replacements, which is why neon signs that don't work are more likely to be seen than working ones. Even the famous Tribune Tower stood dark for years. Eventually the new owners repaired and restored the watch faces, and John Law was brought in to keep the neon lights shining as a beacon in downtown Auckland.

Sky dancers. Inflatable figures

They dance like crazy through the streets and sidewalks - at car dealerships, gas stations and shopping centers, heralding grand sales and grand openings. Ignoring these animated advertisers, either taking off, then waving their arms, then falling, is almost impossible. They have different names and different shapes, but usually these inflatable aeromen figures with thin arms and a painted face are a column of vinyl mounted on a fan. Depending on someone's taste preferences, they can be both colorful and completely nondescript. Some cities have plenty of them, while others, such as Houston, have banned them altogether. According to a 2008 local decree, they "create visual noise in the city, which adversely affects the aesthetic environment."

© Page Light Studios/Shutterstock/FOTODOM

You'd think these figures were created by a used car dealer who was playing around with a leaf blower and plastic bags to boost his business. But their real history is much longer, richer and stranger. It all started with Peter Minshall, a famous Caribbean artist born in 1941. Minshall became famous for creating larger-than-life dolls that danced in the streets to an orchestra of steel drums. His work was featured in the book "Caribbean Festival Arts", one copy of which fell into the hands of one of the leaders of the committee that organized the Olympics.

For the opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Minshall designed impressive costumes and performances featuring these giant puppets. A few years later he ended up in the United States, where he worked with other artists on the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It was then that he came up with the idea of ​​​​figures from inflatable pipes, which, under the influence of air from fans, could dance like the inhabitants of his native country of Trinidad and Tobago. But to get these "tall boys" (Minshall's original name for his invention) to work, he needed help.

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Peter turned to Doron Gazit, an Israeli artist who had worked at previous Olympics. Gazit has long been involved in inflatable figures, starting with making and selling balloon animals on the streets of Jerusalem. As a result, the duo came up with a design that was very similar to the pipe figurines you see around the world today, only they were bipedal and much larger. Olympic ceremonies and performances 1996 years have passed, but the figures remained.

After the Games, Doron Gazit received a patent for "flying guys" (that's how he called his invention) and began to sell the rights to manufacture and sell them for commercial purposes. There are not only "tall boys" and "flying guys" in the world today. There are also "air dancers" and "air rangers" (the latter are like scarecrows, designed to keep animals from climbing farms and eating crops). Instead of smiles, they have angry faces and sharp teeth. LookOurWay explains that "the dynamic, chaotic dancing movements keep the birds away time after time." But various aspects of such commercialization have become the subject of controversy.

According to Peter Minshall, a colleague called him and said that Doron Gazit was selling different variations of the figures they had designed together. Gazit himself claims that, according to his lawyers, it is quite legal to take a patent and sell such figures, since Peter Minshall is not their inventor in the eyes of the law. Both Peter Minshall and Doron Gazit agree that the dancing inflatables are Minshall's idea, and they both agree that it was Gazit who turned the idea into reality. But they disagree on whether it was ethical for Gazit to obtain a patent without informing Minshall, who would like to be consulted first. However, on the whole Minshallu is pleased to see these figures bringing the traditional dance style of Trinidad and Tobago to the streets of cities around the world. Behind the chaotic movements of these colorful inflatable men, advertising low, low prices, lies a cultural phenomenon that celebrates the rhythms of the nation.


Fragments of new books

Tubular man - tube-shaped aerial dancers

Common causes

1. The figure collapses on one side or the shell falls on the fan stands.

Possible cause: fan(s) not working.

Foreign objects (paper, leaves, bags, bundles, branches, cartons, etc.) have fallen into one/two fans.

What should I do?

Disconnect the fan from the 220V power supply. Release the air from the shell, after which the “legs” are disconnected from the racks. Remove foreign objects from the air intake window, then manually turn the impeller, if the movement is light without jamming, then test run the fan. If the engine runs smoothly, without jamming, extraneous noise and buzz, then you can operate the product.

Attention! Within a radius of 2 meters from each blower, the surface must be clean, free of debris, sand, and any foreign objects!

2. The figure falls on one side or the shell rests on the fan stands.

Possible cause: fan(s) not working.

Disconnect the fan from the 220V power supply. Release the air from the shell, then disconnect the figure from the racks. Manually rotate the blades, if the movement is light without jamming, then try to start the engine from the mains. If the impeller does not move, and the engine hums unpleasantly or the blades spin, but slowly, then the fan is most likely faulty.

If the second fan also does not work, follow the same procedure with it step by step.

What needs to be done?

Send for warranty service to the manufacturer of the inflatable figure, if the fan is within the warranty period, and its operation was carried out according to the rules.

At the end of the warranty, you can contact the manufacturer by ordering (the manufacturer does not repair) a new motor or have the fan repaired at the nearest service center, or purchase a new similar electrical appliance from third parties.

3. The figure lies on the rack fans

Possible cause: lack of voltage in the 220V network, malfunction of the power cord or electric extension cord.

Check the mains voltage 220V using a voltage indicator, if the LED lights up, then there may be a malfunction in the extension cord or power cord. You can make sure that the extension cord or wire is faulty by installing a new extension cord, and you can check the fault of the wire by connecting it to a working power supply.

What should I do?

There is no voltage in the network, call the City Electricity Network, find out the timing of turning on the electricity. Extension cable defective, replace with a new one. If the wire is not working, for example, after commissioning - they bought a figure, installed it, turned on the fan - it does not start - the wire is faulty. Contact the manufacturer for warranty service.

In any other situation, due to improper operation, when the cord is damaged, or a malfunction occurs after the warranty period has expired, the owner of the product repairs the defective part on his own or contact the repair service.

Important! If you find out that the fan is not working, what to do, read above in paragraphs 2 and 3.

4. The figure dances in one direction, creeps and quickly gets up, dangles its head back and forth

Possible cause: the scheme is not observed fan arrangements.

Examine the figure from several sides for the location of the fan racks, if they are not in the same line, then most likely the shell is twisted. This prevents her from performing sweeping movements. Also, make sure that the distance between them is not too short or too large. If you see shifts, then adjust.

What should I do?

When the product is in operation, arrange fan-racks at a distance of 1-1.5 meters, strictly placing them opposite each other on the same line. After that, the figure should “dance” standing on its feet, waving its arms and head to the left to the right (for what reason the figure may not dance, read in the next paragraph).

Important! At a distance between the uprights of less than 1 meter, the aeromen strongly bends, then on one, then on the second leg, dangles his head back and forth. Widely spaced fan stands - the aeroman bends in both legs, spreads to the floor and rises quickly. The asymmetric arrangement of the fans leads to a dance in one direction (the shell is twisted).

5. The figure is frozen in one position

Possible cause: the drawstring (hole on the head of the figure) is tightened.

Does the figure hang in one position, sometimes twitching? This means that the drawstring on the “head” is somehow tightened.

What needs to be done?

Pull the head of the figure towards you, check if the lacing is fully tightened, then in order for the figure to dance it must be loosened. Relax the lacing, let go and watch the figure dance. If you are not satisfied with the energy of the movements, loosen the lacing until you are satisfied with the dynamics of the dance of the figure.

Attention! Tightening the drawstring on the "head" - the movements become smooth and, on the contrary, loosening the lacing - the intensity of movements increases.

Adjusting the drawstring and sleeves of the figure

The second way is to adjust the diameters of the outlets on the "head" and sleeves of the aeroman. If you reduce the size of the outlet on the "head", and increase the size of the outlet on the "hands", then the aeroman will move his arms more actively.

Learn more