The tubes in the U-bend region of a recirculating type of nuclear steam generator are subjected to cross-flow of a two-phase mixture of steam and water. There is a concern that these tubes may experience flow-induced vibration, including the damaging effects of fluidelastic instability. This two-part series of papers presents the results of flow-induced vibration experiments performed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) using the Multi-Span U-Bend test rig. The tube bundle is made of 22 U-bend tubes of 12.7 mm (0.5 in.) diameter, arranged in a rotated triangular configuration with a pitch-to-diameter ratio of 1.5. The test rig was equipped with variable clearance flat bar supports at two different locations to investigate a variety of tube and flat-bar support configurations. The primary purpose of the overall project was to study the occurrence of in-plane (or streamwise) fluidelastic instability in a U-tube bundle with flat-bar tube supports with clearances or preloads. Initially, the test rig was configured for tests in air-flow using an industrial air blower. Then tests with two-phase refrigerant (R-134a) were performed. Part I of this two-part series describes the test rig, experimental setup and some of the challenges encountered, and the results of experiments with air flows. Part II will present results of tests using refrigerant two-phase flows.