SAN DIEGO -- It's not winter and San Diego is not known for its snow, but the USA Women’s Bobsled Team is in town now to prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
San Diego has what’s considered one of the best wind tunnels of its kind in the world. The bobsledders are using it to fine tune their aerodynamics..
“They benefit significantly. because these competitions are literally won by hundreds of a second,” said Jim Kidrick, president and CEO of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
Kidrick said the Low Speed Wind Tunnel has been used by the USA Luge Team, professional bicyclists. It's also been used to test F-16s, cruise missiles and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The wind tunnel test could change the shape of the bobsleds used by the team in two years at the winter games, USA Women's Bobsled Team Head Coach Todd Hayes said.
“We're looking at all different aspects of the sled: making it smaller, making it bigger, making it a little more teardrop per say,” said Hayes.
The testing results were immediate.
“Just in one testing period, they can go back and make significant changes, so that when they reappear to test again all of a sudden they've found the solutions they need to go faster,” said Kidrick.
Team members Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling participated in the testing. Their bobsled travels at speeds of up to 90 miles an hour, something the wind tunnel can replicate.
“Aerodynamics is huge,” Meyers said. “You win or lose medals based off of two or three hundredths (of a second), so it's a very, very small time difference, so anything we can find in here is going to definitely make us faster down the hill. We're so excited to be here, and so fortunate to be here.”
Meyers said she and Eberling won the Bronze Medal at the 2012 World Championship, but this time around they’re looking for the gold.
The 2014 Winter Olympics starts Feb. 7 in Sochi, Russia.