by Paul Osborne
March 29, 2014 (ISN) – Korean Air is set to break new ground in the world of bobsleigh after the airline company announced plans to manufacture the South Korean sled to be used at Pyeongchang 2018.
After learning the South Korean national team were using Dutch sleds during practice, limiting their ability to set faster times, Yang Ho Cho, chairman and chief executive of the Hanjin Group and Korean Air and chief vice-chairman of the Korean Olympic Committee, decided it was time to develop a new sled for the team.
With a consortium consisting of experts from the Korea National Sport University, Sungkyunkwan University, Inha University and University of California, Korean Air will help develop both two-man and four-man bobsleighs.
The consortium will design and produce the sleds and Korea National Sport University will test the prototype.
The Korean Air consortium is set to form a development team next month before launching the actual development in May, with a prototype to be completed around November.
Testing and additional work will then continue through to February 2015, with annual upgraded models to be produced every year until the Olympics in 2018.
South Korea will hope the new sleds can help push their bobsleigh teams to new heights after both the men’s and women’s two-man and four-man teams failed to break the top 15 at Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images
Over the years, world-class car manufacturers such as BMW and Ferrari have had a hand in producing national bobsleighs, however, this new project by Korean Air will mark the first time an airliner has attempted such a feat.
The new sleds will likely see specialised composite materials and aerospace engineering used in the development of Korean Air’s next-generation aircrafts, such as the B787 and A350, as the South Korean team pushes to challenge the top nations when the Winter Games makes its way to Pyeongchang.
“I appreciate Korean Air and chairman Cho’s great support to develop winter sports, especially bobsleds,” said Kwang Bae Kang, vice-president of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation and professor at the Korea National Sport University.
“If we win a medal in the Winter Olympics with the bobsleds manufactured with our national technology, it will be an opportunity to promote Korea’s sports science technology to the world.”
South Korea’s men’s and women’s two-man and four-man team failed to break into the top 15 at Sochi 2014.