Aerial Adventure Courses

Aerial adventure courses such as zip lining, ropes courses, challenge courses, aerial trekking courses and canopy tours are among the fastest growing segments of the commercial recreational industry. These activities include functional, operational and patron participation requirements that are now represented in a new ASTM International standard, F2959, Practice for Special Requirements for Aerial Adventure Courses. The new standard was developed by Subcommittee F24.60 on Special Rides/Attractions, part of ASTM International Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices.

"These activities are one of the fastest growing segments in the commercial recreational industry," says Mike Teske, director, technical services, Skyline Eco-Adventures, and chairman of the task group that developed F2959. Teske notes that the first commercial zip line in the world was installed in Maui, Hawaii, in 2002; there are now an estimated 400 zip line installations in North America alone.

The purpose of F2959 is to provide designers, manufacturers, owners/operators and auditors with criteria and references for use in the design, manufacture, installation, operation, maintenance, auditing and major modification of aerial adventure courses.

Teske notes that F2959 will be beneficial to several groups involved with aerial adventure courses:

  • Regulators will find that F2959 addresses the aspects of aerial adventure courses that set these activities apart from other amusement rides and devices;
  • Owners and operators of aerial adventure courses will have uniformity when comparing their installations and basic operating procedures to those outlined in the standard; and
  • The public's confidence regarding quality, installation and operation will be boosted as the standard is used throughout the industry. In addition, adherence to F2959 by owners and operators will ensure that potential patrons are made aware of the degree of physical dexterity needed to participate in a specific activity.

Teske hopes that the standard will promote safety and uniformity of processes while also allowing for creativity in the evolving aerial adventure industry.

"The success of the F2959 effort demonstrates how Committee F24 can quickly react to the need for detailed safety guidance when a new product enters the amusement industry market and is rapidly adopted by worldwide facilities," says James L. Seay, F24 chairman and president of Premier Rides, Baltimore, Md. "The highly focused cooperative effort to create safety standards is very impressive. Stakeholders from regulators to manufacturers to operators to consumers deserve great credit for their voluntary efforts."

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CONTACT Technical Information: Mike Teske, Skyline Eco-Adventures • Haliimaile, Hawaii • Phone: 865-323-6643 | ASTM Staff: Leonard Morrissey • Phone: 610-832-9719 | Upcoming Meetings: Feb. 14-16 • New Orleans, La. | Oct. 24-26 • Scottsdale, Ariz.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.