During a press conference in Terfens, Tyrol, local paragliding manufacturer NOVA has announced their intention to open an indoor flying centre. They plan to convert a reservoir into a so-called Para-Hall, in order to offer pilots from all over the world the opportunity to fly regardless of the weather conditions. At present they are in intense negotiations with hydroelectric companies and the state governments of the Tyrol and Salzburg. The project focuses on sustainability and will contribute to the long-term future of the Austrian tourism industry.
“Climate change cannot be ignored” says NOVA CEO Wolfgang Lechner, “glaciers in the Alps will melt sooner or later. Therefore, it is inevitable that some reservoirs and their hydroelectric plants will no longer be profitable. Our Para-Hall is a ground-breaking alternative.”
NOVA intends to empty, dredge, clean and cover a reservoir. Lechner explains that from a technical point of view, a reservoir with a hydroelectric plant is ideal for converting into a flying centre: “the turbines can be reversed and used to blow air into the Para-Hall. Add a few filaments and indoor thermals are possible. Our test pilots have already tried this in the indoor ski centre in Dubai. It worked fine!”
A highlight of the NOVA Para-Hall will be the Open Air Access, which is a huge retractable roof. With strong indoor thermals, it will be possible to take off inside and go through the roof. Alternatively, it can launch outside, for example in the Outdoor Hike & Fly Area in the mountains above the centre, and then land inside.
The Spectator Area will be situated at the front of the Para-Hall – with glazed viewing areas facing into the centre and down to the valley. Several levels will offer visitors the chance to have a variety of gastro-experiences: Tyrolean Stubn (inns) will offer locally produced local organic produce, an Ayurveda restaurant staffed by genuine Indian chefs, Schnitzel-World (a self-service restaurant with good cost-benefit ratio), on level three it is possible to fast, while next to the landing zone, pilots can avail themselves of the obligatory landing field beer. “The absolute highlight”, according to Wolfi Lechner, “is the Silent Zone. This is situated in the Fresh Air Zone and offers complete relaxation. Here everyone can discover their inner apricot.”
NOVA plans to convert the current engine room into an Outdoor Experience Centre. Lechner explains: “We hope to install eco hotels with straw beds and Tyrolean pinewood interiors, a climbing wall, wellness centre, a spacious spa area with attached salt cave, an ice climbing wall, yoga retreat and a children’s crèche with a mountain pasture experience – featuring real cows. Part of the drainage channel will be converted to a night club. Finally, there will be conferencing facilities. We’re thinking big and are focussing on the family – and all very sustainable!“
In co-operation with the ZAMG (Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Innsbruck) NOVA has commissioned research, which will pinpoint the optimal moment to start the building work. The project should commence no later than the 1st April 2020, probably earlier.
“At first glance, the concept may sound a bit crazy”, explains Lechner, “but the planning is in the advanced stages.” Currently the reservoir at the Moserboden in the Tauern area is favourite. The site offers the advantage of two dams. On one side the topography will enable soaring flights, the other will be developed as a thermalling paradise.
Lechner is convinced that the power generation companies will be enthusiastic about the concept and he is anticipating investment from ski resort operators. “Sooner or later they will no longer have a viable business. With our long-term sustainable concept we will be able to save the day. The Para-Hall we will mean we are all ready for the future. It will allow tourists to experience all facets of nature – without having to step outside!”
Find out more at www.nova.eu