Anton Westman, MD PhD
Partner of Inclined Labs AB
Anton Westman combines his unique experience in air sports with the academic credentials as an expert and researcher in aerospace medicine.
An avid skydiver from the 1990s, Swedish Champion and representing his country internationally, he completed undergraduate studies in journalism and medicine before making a career of the latter. His postdoctoral studies in aerospace medicine at the Karolinska Institute extended over eight years. He currently works in anesthesiology and intensive care at the Karolinska University Hospital and, as of recently, has taken up further studies in disaster medicine at Umea University.
Anton is widely published as a researcher, above all with papers on the impact of skydiving on health and the influence of certain medical conditions on people practicing air sports. In 2013, the Parachuting Commission of the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) awarded him with the FAI Gold Parachuting Medal for his significant contributions made over more than two decades.
Authoring a chapter on wingsuit flying and its hazards for the book Extreme Sports Medicine, Anton looked at ways of reducing the risks inherent in this particular activity. After he singled out specific physical training as the single most important preventive measure to avoid accidents, it seemed logical that he came up with the idea of an inclined wind tunnel that would simulate the conditions of proximity flying. His colleague and fellow skydiver Peter Georen, a PhD from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, took it from there.
Converting an existing but long unused horizontal wind tunnel built for the Swedish Air Force in the 1930s, Georen added the incline and created the now patented technology that allows to control the airflow. Anton was the first person to fly in it.
“I remember sitting there with my helmet for a while and getting pretty nervous,” Anton recounts. “But I was able to fly, having never flown a wingsuit before. I really flew for about 40 seconds and that was the first free sustained flight, taking off and landing softly at will on the same spot on the floor.”
Together with two other colleagues and working under the collective nick “The Crazy Ones,” Anton and Peter opened the first inclined wind tunnel in September 2017: Indoor Wingsuit Flying in Stockholm.