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Skydiving from 25 Miles Up 282

Posted by michael
from the life-flashing-before-your-eyes dept.
chisox writes "The Observer has a story about a retired French army colonel who is soon to make a free fall parachute jump from 25 miles up. In the process he will break the sound barrier, reaching a top speed of mach 1.68 before he opens his parachute 1,000 metres above the Earth. Of course, if the chute doesn't open, the hole he'll make will be about 1,000 metres deep." Well, actually his max speed will be high up and near the earth the atmosphere will have slowed him down to terminal velocity.
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Skydiving from 25 Miles Up

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  • His Ears (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Daveman692 (558544)
    Will he really experience a sonic boom? If so wouldn't that destroy his ear drums.
    • He'll be wearing a space suit.. I'm sure his ears will be fine..
    • Re:His Ears (Score:5, Informative)

      by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:26PM (#3882545) Homepage Journal
      I don't think his ears will be in the area which could experience the sonic boom. The sonic boom is actually a cone-shaped are where the sound becomes concentrated (because you are moving faster than it).

      I am more interested in how much his suit would heat up if his chute doesn't open due to air resistance and decreasing terminal velocity.`
    • Re:His Ears (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bullschmidt (69408)
      Nope. Won't be any sonic boom. He'll break the sea level speed of sound high in the atmosphere, where the speed of sound is higher. As he descends, he'll slow to terminal velocity. So there will never be a shockwave.
      • No... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Xeriar (456730)
        Speed of sound is significantly lower higher in the atmosphere, and since there is less air resistance, he can fall faster.

        The last attempt, five miles lower, got pretty close to the speed of sound, this should do it. Not sure how safe it would be, but he should break it.

        Of course, if his chute doesn't open, he becomes his own airbrake and bursts into flames.
        • Re:No... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by zer0vector (94679)
          Why would he burst into flames if his chute did not open? He's not planning on opening it until 1000m, well in the range of normal skydiving, so obviously the chute has no bearing on what happens above that. At this point he'll only be traveling at terminal velocity anyway, which ain't so fast (~160mph, rough estimate for a human body).
        • by p3d0 (42270)
          Of course, if his chute doesn't open, he becomes his own airbrake and bursts into flames.
          Nonsense. If he was moving so fast that this were a possibility, then a parachute would be useless.

          You must be imagining that anything falling from space must be falling from orbit, and therefore has to deal with reentry. Not so--he's jumping from a stationary balloon held aloft by buoyancy, not by the momentum of an orbiting spacecraft.

          This raises another question though: if they are considering this as an escape route for shuttle or space station passengers, then they will have to deal with re-entry. I wonder how they plan to do that...

    • Re:His Ears (Score:4, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:55PM (#3882673) Homepage Journal
      (* Will he really experience a sonic boom? If so wouldn't that destroy his ear drums. *)

      Do French sonic booms sound more romantic to chicks than American sonic booms?
    • Re:His Ears (Score:3, Informative)

      by spike hay (534165)
      Will he really experience a sonic boom? If so wouldn't that destroy his ear drums.

      Actually, no. The sonic boom is never heard by the body traveling at supersonic speeds, wether it be plane, rocket, or person. Concorde passengers are unaffected by the boom.

      The conical shock waves never touch. At least they aren't supposed to. Now, since a person is thin like a rocket, I am sure he won't have to worry about shock waves.
    • Wouldn't the boom always be just behind him? He is afterall going faster than sound.
  • Sounds very interesting. I wish him the best of luck in getting this done. I think I read something about him a couple of years ago, though I could be wrong.

    I have to admit, considering applications of this, such as parachuting from a Space Shuttle, IIS, etc, it does make you wonder why something like this has not been undertaken by any government agency.

    RonB
    • such as parachuting from a Space Shuttle, IIS, etc

      I don't know about you, but my IIS is safely locked in the server room!
    • Re:Read the article (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alrescha (50745) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:38PM (#3882601)
      "it does make you wonder why something like this has not been undertaken by any government agency."

      This has been done. I'm not sure why we forget. In 1960, Joe Kittenger jumped from ~20 miles, breaking the sound barrier. See:

      http://www.dropzone.com/news/SpaceParachutingSky di vin.shtml

      A.

      ps: I'm sorry that /. injects a space in that URL.
    • by Komodo (7029) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @06:05PM (#3882923) Homepage
      GE once designed a device called the MOOSE, to allow astronauts to bail out from orbit and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere with little more than a space suit and plastic cocoon (remember that early heat shields where basically a big slab of high-temperature plastic that would flake off during re-entry).Here's one link about the MOOSE: http://www.boggsspace.com/strange_but_true.htm [boggsspace.com]
  • Wouldn't the amount of force be more than a parachute is used to receiving? This could possible rip a rope or the parachute itself.
    • Re:Force? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bullschmidt (69408) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:37PM (#3882589)
      Nope, not at all. Terminal velocity is the max velocity you can travel at a certain point in the atmosphere. You hit it really quickly. By the time he pulls his shoot he won't be travelling any faster than someone who jumped from 15000ft. He'll be going fast when hes REALLY high up and the atmostphere is thin and terminal velocity is higher.
    • Wouldn't the parachute only open once he slows down due to terminal velocity--something I'm sure parachutes are subject to?

      I don't think he'd try to use the parachute when he's going faster than the speed of sound, since I think that would hurt more than the parachute (him)

      -Sara
      • Wouldn't the parachute only open once he slows down due to terminal velocity--something I'm sure parachutes are subject to?

        The parachute will open at just about any speed as long as he is falling. It'll open at as little as 10-20 mph, and if he wants it to, it'll open at 500-600 mph. He'd have to be brain-dead to open at this speed though...since kinetic energy depends on the square of velocity, he would be putting an incredible strain on the parachute (which likely wouldn't survive opening at this speed) and himself.
    • His velocity will probably be about 200 km/h when his chute gets pulled. Why 200 km/h? That's the terminal velocity due to wind resistance at the height (1000ft) where his chute gets pulled.

      He should be ok unless he weighs as much as a car or soemthing just as strange (maybe 300+ kilograms??). I haven't seen his picture yet :)
      • His velocity will probably be about 200 km/h when his chute gets pulled. Why 200 km/h? That's the terminal velocity due to wind resistance at the height (1000ft) where his chute gets pulled.

        1000 feet? Let's hope he pulls higher than that. At 1000 feet, terminal velocity is around 120 mph, which means that you have about five seconds until impact. If you take into consideration that some parachutes are packed or designed to snivel on opening, 1000 feet may even be too low for him. He could use his reserve, which according to FAA TSO guidelines must open within 300 feet, but an opening that quick would damage the reserve.

        Generally, when jumps from this high are made, they pull at 10000-15000 feet. I've pulled this high before (I pulled right after I got out of the airplane) -- the view is INCREDIBLE.
    • Re:Force? (Score:2, Informative)

      by terminal.dk (102718)
      Disclaimer: I am a skydiver, has slightly more than 300 jumps, so I am not really that experienced.

      I have been doing a jump from 22000 ft = 6700 meters. And I also experienced the thin air, making it more difficult to turn, and my speed max was around 300 km/h, where it normally tops at 200 km/h on a normal skydive.

      At deployment time (1000 meters / 3500 ft), the thick air near the planet had slowed me to below 180 km/h.
    • Wouldn't the amount of force be more than a parachute is used to receiving? This could possible rip a rope or the parachute itself.

      Yeah! You're right! Maybe he shouldn't use those standard bargain parachutes you buy at Wal-Mart!

      *mutters and shakes head*
  • by Zspdude (531908) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:29PM (#3882553) Homepage
    Sponsored by the Darwin Awards...
    • Have you even read the article? The man has been doing it for his entire life (he has jumped 8300 times before). He seems to be very prepared and there are actual details of the pressure and temperatures his space suit can resist to. Overall, I'd say this man has everything to be successful.

      If you can't do it, that doesn't mean it can't be done.
    • I don't know why this got modded up.

      As Slashdotters we should recognize people trying to do "crazy" things are the ones who expand the frontiers of our society. Would you also have nominated the lunar Apollo teams for the darwin awards?

      If slashdot were around in 1633 perhaps we would also be the first to condemn Galileo as a heretic lune.
    • Well, if you read the article:

      'I sold my house, my collection of weapons, my stamp albums and my military medals to get this project off the ground after training for more than two years for the official experiment before it was abandoned,' he said. 'I'm not looking for fame. What fascinates me is the record and the physical challenge involved.

      This guy has balls.
      • Well, if you read the article:
        'I sold my house, my collection of weapons, my stamp albums and my military medals to get this project off the ground[...]'

        This guy has balls.

        What, he hasn't sold those, too?

  • He's sure to make an impact on the skydiving industry.
    • Heh. Yeah, maybe the skydiving industry that deals with millioaires who have a lot of time to spare. Didn't you read about the cost involved, and the amount of training?

      Ouch.

      Jumping from a putter-putt plane is expensive enough.

      -Sara
    • you have that wrong, it's He's sure to make an impact on the skydiving industry^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hground.
  • If the chute doesn't open, yes, it will be.
  • Physics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drfrank (16371) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:32PM (#3882566)

    Well, actually his max speed will be high up and near the earth the atmosphere will have slowed him down to terminal velocity.

    Well, actually he'll be at terminal velocity for nearly the entire time... Terminal velocity is dependant on the density of the atmosphere. You'd think that someone that posted a link to a page which defined "terminal velopcity" would have at least read the definition...

    • Big Airy Sponges... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by roberto0 (242247)
      At 25,000 feet, the earth's atmosphere is significantly thinner than at ground level. So there's an interesting effect going on here: When the skydiver jumps from the plane, he'll accelerate until he's falling at "terminal velocity".
      But as he falls, the atmosphere will be thickening around him, and the "terminal velocity" will decrease. Which is kind of cool, because he'll be slowing down as he's falling!
      The atmosphere is like a big, airy sponge around the Earth...
    • Re:Physics (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Alsee (515537) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @08:42PM (#3883351) Homepage
      actually he'll be at terminal velocity for nearly the entire time

      Nope. At that altitude you are practically in a vacuum. He will accelerate for close to half the distance. You haven't hit terminal velosity untill you stop accelerating. That won't happen until his altitude gets down to around 70,000 to 90,000 feet where the atmosphere starts thickening up.

      After he does hit terminal velocity, the atmosphere will thiken rapidy. The local value (for that altitude) of terminal velocity will drop rapidly. The air resistance will exceed the force of gravity and he will start slowing down, bleeding off his inertia. He will actually be ABOVE the local terminal velocity during this process - pretty much the second half of his trip.

      -
  • Wired [wired.com] had an article in August 2001 [wired.com] about two other people attempting much the same thing.
  • 1000 metres (Score:4, Funny)

    by nakaduct (43954) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:34PM (#3882582)
    Someone should tip off the drilling companies: rather than pay skilled people to operate fancy drilling rigs, just drop the rigs and/or people out of an airplane.
    • Someone should tip off the drilling companies: rather than pay skilled people to operate fancy drilling rigs, just drop the rigs and/or people out of an airplane.

      Yeah, we like to call those airplanes B-52's.
  • By an American Air Force pilot in the 50's. Rode a baloon up into the stratosphere, and jumped. Is the french dude going to set a record, or is this publicity?
  • hearing a story about an American doing something like this a long time ago during the beginning of the space program. If I recall, he took some kind of ballon so high that he needed breathing assistance and then he jumped. He is supposed to be the only man so far to break the sound barrier without mechanical assistance.

    I want to say that this was on TLC or Discovery Channel. Can't remember anything else about it.
  • Actually... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Russ Steffen (263)

    If the cute doesn't open, the crater he makes will be the same size if jumps from 25 miles or 10,000 feet. That's how terminal velocity works. Sure he'll break Mach 1 in the thin air aloft, but as he gets to into progressivly thicker air he'll be slowed to the same 55 m/s as any other skydiver. As long as he doesn't tuck into a ball or go head first, that is.

  • ... this kindof reminds me of the time that guy strapped a solid fuel booster to his Nova trying to break a landspeed record somewhere out in the desert. he hit a solid rock wall probably mere seconds after realizing no less than three critical errors in his planning:

    1) solid fuel boosters can't be stopped; once they're ignited they burn till they're used up.

    2) at 400 miles per hour those cliffs way off on the horizon approach much faster than you'd have thought.

    3) it doesn't really matter how hard you push in on the brake pedal if the car is being propelled by something they use for jet-assisted takeoff of military cargo planes.
  • by Bollie (152363)
    For the sane people out there... here's some unit conversions:

    25 Miles = 40.2336 Kilometers
    1.68 Mach [dry air, 273 Kelvin] = 2005.6498391999999 kilometers/hour

    For the insane people out there... here's some unit conversions:

    1 Kilometer = 0.621371 Miles
    12 Inches = 1 Foot
    3 Feet = 1 Yard
    1 Mile = 1,760 Yards
    1 Mile = 5,280 Feet
    1 Miles = 63,360 Inches

    Just to give you a taste of some saner things:

    1000 millimeter = 1 meter
    100 centimeter = 1 meter
    1000 meter = 1 kilometer

    But wait! There's more!

    1000 milliliter = 1 liter
    100 centiliter = 1 liter
    1000 liter = 1 kiloliter

    Just go to onlineconversions [onlineconversion.com] and have fun!

  • I have always wondered if there were any examples (probably from war) of people bailing over the ocean with no/unopened parachute and surviving. Terminal velocity around sea level is like 120 mph, right? That's pretty fast, but I wonder if there's some chance of surviving an impact with water at that speed.

    If this isn't possible, I wonder how close to possible it is. I saw a *really* high-diving competition on TV (not at a pool, but off a cliff) and I'll bet those guys were getting up towards triple-digit speeds.

    • by DutchSter (150891) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @05:04PM (#3882708)
      I have always wondered if there were any examples (probably from war) of people bailing over the ocean with no/unopened parachute and surviving. Terminal velocity around sea level is like 120 mph, right? That's pretty fast, but I wonder if there's some chance of surviving an impact with water at that speed.
      Given that water is an incompressible liquid and you would be hitting at such a high rate of speed, you'd be better off landing in a dirt field at the same high speed. Just think about those belly-flops; they hurt from three feet up. The second you hit, the water doesn't move. It's only after the blow has rippled out that the water moves and you begin to sink.

      According to the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook (http://www.worstcasescenarios.com) if you plan to jump from anything high you should be prepared to at least break your legs, and clench your buttocks as you go down so as to keep water from rushing in and um, causing severe "internal" damage. Jumping from over 50 feet is ill-advised as it will almost certainaly break something other than your legs (spine) unless you hit at exactly the right angle. At 120 MPH you may not be able to adjust yourself by the time you realize that you're going to enter at a slight angle thanks to that last second cross breeze.

      Interestingly though, according to the same book you can probably survive a 50 foot fall into a dumpster of boxes with few complications.
      • According to the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook

        As a licensed skydiver, I will say that the Worst-Case Scenario Survival handbook is full of shit. They have a section on how to survive if your parachute doesn't open; part of what they tell you to do is signal to other jumpers in the air that your parachute won't open, dock on them, and hold on to them until landing. First of all, everybody else will have deployed by the time you realize you're in trouble, and even if there were people with you, you wouldn't have time to dock onto them, get a good grip on them, and let them pull. It would take a VERY good grip on them too -- the deceleration of them pulling with the added weight of you hanging on would make holding on a bit difficult.

        What they don't tell you is what you are taught over and over and over again during your student training -- if your parachute doesn't work, pull your friggin' reserve!

        It is blatantly obvious to me that whoever wrote that book never took a lick of skydiving training. They have NO business telling people what to do in a situation like that. Their advice wouldn't help you; it would more than likely kill you. Look at this book as nothing more than a humor book...you're putting yourself in danger if you take it seriously.
        • It's been done before, but, there's no way you can hold on to the other person with hands alone. Put your arms inside their harness, entangle as much as you can, wait for them to pull, hope your arms don't break. Now, providing the canopy and lines hold, you have a chance to survive, with modern small <120sqft canopies the chance isn't that big, but there's at least a chance.

          Microlines would prolly be very painful for a brief moment until they snap.

          Although, the technique is, as you said, pointless really, no one will be around. Once your main has failed, you deploy reserve, if that doesn't work, your buddies will most likely be long gone already, and on a normal jump you'll be at <2000ft with <10 seconds until impact...

      • Here's some examples from http://www.urbanlegends.com/death/falling_terminal _velocity.html

        This is what the Guinness Book of Records has to say:

        It is estimated that the human body reaches 99% of its low-level terminal velocity after falling 573m 1880ft which takes 13-14 sec. This is 117-125mph at normal atmospheric pressure and in a
        random posture.

        (At the 1100 ft Emley Moor TV mast near me they reckon that you would reach terminal velocity (great term) well before hitting the ground)

        Longest fall without a parachute:

        World: Vesna Vulovic (Yugoslavia, wherever that is now), stewardess in a DC-9 which blew up at 10160m 33330ft over Serbska Kamenice, Czechoslovakia, 26 Jan 1972.

        UK: Flt-Sgt Nicholas Steven Alkemade (d. 22 Jun 1987) from a blazing Lancaster bomber at 5485m 18000ft over Germany (near Oberkuerchen) on 23 Mar 1944.

        On a mathematical note, the acceleration force is always constant, whereas the drag increases as the square of the speed. The line reaches an asymptote at about 125mph. Interestingly though,
        it is actually the 0mph bit at the end which actually kills you.
    • by NearlyHeadless (110901) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @05:29PM (#3882806)

      I have always wondered if there were any examples (probably from war) of people bailing over the ocean with no/unopened parachute and surviving.
      I haven't heard of any cases over water, but there have been a
      few [parachutehistory.com] on land.
  • by xipho (193257)
    Its a plot, the French have decided to take back Canada by dropping old people on them... Oh well at least he won't hit nothin' too important when he crashes into Saskatoon.
  • How long will it be until Russia gets in on this action for the space tourist looking for the "econo" trip?

    I could imaging sending someone to an altitude lower than the ISS and letting them take a long skydive.

    Interesting experience... but could they ensure survival? I'm sure the standard extreme sport waiver forms would still apply :)
  • by splorf (569185) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:46PM (#3882636)
    And what does it really mean, here?

    ISTR that the speed of sound changes with air pressure and it's faster when the pressure is lower. The speed of sound at sea level is around 300 m/sec so mach 1.68 at sea level would be around 500 m/sec.

    But at 100,000 feet, the speed of sound in that thin air might be 1000 m/sec. So if the guy is falling at 500 m/sec at that altitude, that's really just half the speed of sound there. If he's falling at 1700 m/sec, that sounds awful, sonic booms and all that kind of thing.

    So what's the deal?

    • From the second paragraph in the article: "[He will] reach a top speed of Mach 1.68 (1,680kph at that height)." As for the sonic booms, it's been mentioned in posts above that the boom takes place in a cone shape behind him, and by then he's long past it.

      Maybe you should read the article before asking questions about it?
    • by Papineau (527159) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @05:38PM (#3882840) Homepage

      Try the other way. It's faster when the pressure is higher. The more closer together the molecules, the easier it is for them to collide and spread the sound. The speed of sound in a solid is a couple times higher than in air.

      If you're insterested: in perfect gases, v=(p*k/rho)^(1/2), with pressure p, k=Cp/Cv, and density rho.

      So the speed of sound (Mach 1) at high altitude is way lower, in terms of absolute speed, than near the ground. Mach 1.68 at 25 miles is probably not even the same absolute speed (m/s) than Mach 1 at ground level. In a sufficiently rarified atmosphere (eg Mars), you might even be able to run faster than sound! How's that?

      • I thought so, too. But that isn't correct. The speed of sound at 100,000 feet is within 30-40% of the speed of sound at sea level. From [google.com]:

        The same publication lists the soundspeed at sea level as 340.29 m/s, and 302.03 m/s at an altitude of 100,000 ft.

        -Sean
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:47PM (#3882646) Homepage Journal
    (* Of course, if the chute doesn't open, the hole he'll make will be about 1,000 metres deep." *)

    I hope he does it near my hometown. I always wanted to visit that crater in Arizona, but it is too far and too hot.

    We need a local one.

  • by Paul Jakma (2677) <paul+slashdot@jakma.org> on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:47PM (#3882648) Homepage Journal
    US Air Force Captain Kittinger made the previous world record jump in 1960 from 19 miles up. There's an archive of the Life story on it at:

    [tsixroads.com]
    http://www2.tsixroads.com/Corinth_MLSANDY/jk004. ht ml

    including an amazing shot of him taken from the gondola from which he jumped:

    [tsixroads.com]
    http://www2.tsixroads.com/Corinth_MLSANDY/corint h_ images/jk20.jpg

    • Better Picture (Score:3, Interesting)

      by crisco (4669)
      I like this picture [af.mil] better.
      • Is that a red toolbox strapped to his but?
        I think I see drawers.
      • aye, that's a nice picture too. i had found a very small version of it, but not a decent sized one. there should be quite a few more pictures of his jump, but i cant find any online. :(

        My preference in the pictures though is for the one that appeared on the Life cover - an expanse of cloud mass, that looks like it's photographed from orbit/high up - and a wee speck of a man in a space suit sticking one leg out to control his fall. You just get an amazing sense of how extreme his jump was, as the background and the man look more like the images we've seen of astronauts on EVA than of a man parachuting to earth. The only clue: no umbilical.

        Though the picture you posted a link to is technically more interesting as you get a much better view of his kit, i like the cover picture better for it's sense of perspective.

  • A Timeline (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2002 @04:57PM (#3882686)
    65 million years ago, the dinosaurs disappeared mysteriously from the earth, supposedly caused by an impact from a meteor or piece of comet.

    A.D.2002: A retired French army colonel makes his skydive from 25 miles up. As he approaches mach 1.68, a bright flash is seen, and he vanishes. For years, the mystery of what happened to him remains unsolved.

    A.D.2042: It is discovered that at the moment the retired colonel reached mach 1.68, he caused a rift in the space-time continuum and travelled 65 million years back in time and slammed into the earth at 1200MPH, creator a crator and wiping out dinosaur life.

    • 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs disappeared mysteriously from the earth, supposedly caused by an impact from a meteor or piece of comet.

      A.D.2002: A retired French army colonel makes his skydive from 25 miles up. His chute* fails to open and he makes a large crater. Experts measuring the crater realize how luck we are that he didn't weigh several tons...

      And in that instant new theory about extreme sports among the dinosaurs is born.

      -- MarkusQ

      * If it fails to open, is it still called a "shoot" or would the proper now be "a fuck"?

    • Another way to look at this:

      Dinosours became extinct because of falling meteors.

      Stupid humans are becomming extinct by *being* meteors.
  • by imkonen (580619) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @05:03PM (#3882705)
    But the risks of an accident during the jump are considered lower than during the painstaking process of reaching maximum altitude.

    Yeah, going straight up in a balloon can be pretty dangerous. He should bring a parachute just in case.

  • by zrosener (518655) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @05:22PM (#3882783) Homepage
    check out his home page:

    http://www.legrandsaut.org/

    or straight to the english version:

    http://www.legrandsaut.org/ressources/gb/gb_page s/ gb_accueil.html

    He has some movies and facts and explanations and interviews....etc
  • by guru312 (200260) on Sunday July 14, 2002 @05:39PM (#3882843)
    Well...He may get to hold the record for highest skydive but *I* hold the record for parachuting night pukes.

    No one has gotten sick jumping out of an airplane at night as many times as I have.

    I keep waiting for someone to try to break my record. They are all afraid to try!

    See it here: http://AICommand.com/PukeDuke.htm

    Guru312
    • (* *I* hold the record for parachuting night pukes. No one has gotten sick jumping out of an airplane at night as many times as I have. *)

      Isn't that a biohazard? All that stuff is going to land *somewhere*.

      Unless, perhaps you have never heard of this important rule: "Never puke into the wind".

      BTW, if it makes you sick, then why do you keep doing it? I never found puking pleasent in the least amount.
  • I just went skydiving for the first time yesterday.... albeit I only jumped from 10,000 feet... but the experience is undescribable. To all other slashdotters, I recommend that you give it a shot, even if you only jump from 2 miles, and not 20.

  • Sonic "click" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by s4m7 (519684)
    The sound heard on the ground as a "sonic boom" is the sudden onset and release of pressure after the buildup by the shock wave or "peak overpressure." The change in pressure caused by sonic boom is only a few pounds per square foot -- about the same pressure change we experience on an elevator as it descends two or three floors -- in a much shorter time period. It is the magnitude of this peak overpressure that describes a sonic boom.

    now, all this relies on air pressure! If our skydiver hits the speed of sound up where there isn't any air to speak of, then he's not going to experience much of a boom at all now, is he?

    This is not to say nothing of the fact that the boom appears to occur behind the cause, from the pilot's, or in our case the intrepid colonel's perspective. (that is, he is moving away from the sound at the speed of sound.)

    NO BOOM PEOPLE, GET IT?
  • Marc! Marc Fleury! Vous etes trop age! Restez ici a Atlanta, et gagnez un grand vie!
  • How hot would the surface of ones clothing/body become while traveling at mach 1.68 due to friction with the air?
  • There's an article here [kansas.com] on a different skydiver (mentions Fournier and another attemptee, too) shooting for the same record.

    "If her plans succeed, on Sept 3, 2003, she'll ride a balloon to 130,000 feet, jump out in a McConnell Air Force Base pressurized space suit and free fall to Earth nearly 25 miles below -- landing somewhere within 70 miles of Wichita."

  • "Well, actually his max speed will be high up and near the earth the atmosphere will have slowed him down to terminal velocity."

    at that high altitude, mach 1.6 IS his terminal velocity.....
  • by BoBaBrain (215786) on Monday July 15, 2002 @05:35AM (#3884749)
    Since he will break the sound barrier and eventually start to slow down, he could sing a close harmony duet with himself.

    Cool.
  • Misread (Score:2, Funny)

    by AJSchu (23730)

    First time I read the story, I thought it said "a retarded French army colonel who is soon to make a free fall parachute jump from 25 miles up."

    AJS

  • The previous records [legrandsaut.org] he'll be breaking were set in the 60's, the last being in 1966. What's the deal? Have there just been two generations of lamers?

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