The ‘Slipstream’ Sculpture is Inspired by Spiral Flight Paths

‘Slipstream’ is a large aluminum-clad sculpture that has been installed in Terminal 2 in London’s Heathrow Airport. Designed by artist Richard Wilson, the sculpture twists and turns to simulate the flight path of a small airplane flying through the sky and performing acrobatic maneuvers.

Wilson wanted Slipstream to replicate the flight path in a fluid, 3D form. His silver-colored creation is suspended across the atrium-like space of the new extension to Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2. A computer program was used to plot the different points of movement of a stunt plane and translate those into a tangible shape for the sculpture.

The sculpture is 78 meters long and weighs 85 tons. Structural elements of the sculpture were specially designed by engineering firm Price & Myers.