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That's a good name - ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me?
June 1, 2008 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Unplanned Freefall? Some Survival Tips

A perspective from the world's largest extant toothed mammal (comedic). Previously and Previously (non-comedic).
posted by lalochezia (32 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The headline is a "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" reference, right?
posted by motherfather at 5:36 PM on June 1, 2008


Also, the parent page has lots of serious advice too: Freefall research.
posted by lalochezia at 5:39 PM on June 1, 2008


Oh, yeah, that was a lot of fun to read the night before a flight.

*weeps big man-tears*
posted by Bookhouse at 5:44 PM on June 1, 2008


"Oh not again..."
posted by pompomtom at 5:52 PM on June 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


Don't get rattled, Bookhouse, now you've got the resources to beat this "gravity" thing.
posted by Tullius at 5:55 PM on June 1, 2008


Good find.
The perfectly tiered Norfolk Island pine is a natural safety net, so if you're near New Zealand, you're in luck, pilgrim. When crunch time comes, elongate your body and hit the tree limbs at a perfectly flat angle as close to the trunk as possible. Think!
If this was an ask meta post, I'd say that was terrible advice, and the author has obviously never seen a Norfolk Island pine. They're hard, spiky and covered in sharp stiff sticks. Their branches are rock hard and chunky, not slim and bendy like upwards-pointing conifers. If you land in a Norfolk pine at a perfectly flat angle near the trunk, you will definitely die.
I hope no readers actually take advice like this the next time they're freefalling from a destroyed airliner.
One other thing: the adjectival form of "comedy" is "comic". "Comedic" sounds like the person in an ambulance's passenger seat. /pet hate
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:57 PM on June 1, 2008


Apparently lalochezia also helps.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:59 PM on June 1, 2008


The fall isn't going to do you any harm, it's when you stop falling that you have a problem. With that in mind, keep your wits about you and carefully survey the terrain below, keeping an eye out for bottomless pits. If you see one, aim for it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:02 PM on June 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Alternatively you can also very very carefully aim at the ground and miss. Problem solved.
posted by Science! at 6:06 PM on June 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


is any if this advice applicable to the card game Falling? And why not?
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:12 PM on June 1, 2008


This is why I make peace with God before takeoff by loudly praying in the aisle.
posted by stavrogin at 6:20 PM on June 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one who would enjoy an accurately-simulated VR fall-from-an-airliner?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Bueller?

posted by Skorgu at 6:22 PM on June 1, 2008


Sort of like parachuting?
posted by stavrogin at 6:24 PM on June 1, 2008


the adjectival form of "comedy" is "comic". "Comedic" sounds like the person in an ambulance's passenger seat.

Comic: Funny
Comedic: Similar to comedy
posted by DU at 6:32 PM on June 1, 2008


Hey! Free dummy!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:35 PM on June 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


If you can fall asleep and begin dreaming, you should be okay. In dreams, your feet never touch the earth.
posted by netbros at 7:15 PM on June 1, 2008


This is why I make peace with God before takeoff by loudly praying in the aisle.

I wonder if a Muslim could do this.
posted by mattoxic at 7:34 PM on June 1, 2008


...Nick Alkemade, an RAF tailgunner who jumped from his flaming turret without a parachute and fell 18,000 feet. When he came to and saw stars overhead, he lit a cigarette. He would later describe the fall as "a pleasant experience."
That is ice fucking cold. I hope he got a sponsorship from Zippo, because lighting a smoke in freefall must be just as difficult as surviving an 18,000 foot fall without a parachute.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:43 PM on June 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


The helpful and hopeful message of the Babson Gravity Monuments may be a help here as well.
posted by mmahaffie at 7:50 PM on June 1, 2008


> I hope he got a sponsorship from Zippo, because lighting a smoke in freefall must be just as difficult as surviving an 18,000 foot fall without a parachute.

I think he saw the stars and lit the cigarette once back upon the ground, after the fall was all done with.
posted by churl at 9:18 PM on June 1, 2008


I laughed out loud probably a dozen times reading this. Great link!
posted by knave at 9:49 PM on June 1, 2008


DU, you were probably looking for the Grammar Curmudgeon post.
posted by bigskyguy at 10:02 PM on June 1, 2008


related?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:32 PM on June 1, 2008


Now, if you like falling porn, this is always the canonical story - nine people suddenly ripped out of a plane in the middle of the night.

"''I was trying to go to sleep when I heard a hissing sound,'' said Gary M. Garber, who boarded the flight in Los Angeles and was seated in Row 10, business class. ''It lasted about three or four seconds and I looked at my wife next to me. All of a sudden it exploded, and I'd say three or four rows of people on the right side of the plane were blown out.''"

I often wondered if any of them survived the explosion and had the extreme experience of falling through the sky in their chairs surrounded by other dead or dying people.

Night night all, pleasant dreams!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:43 PM on June 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Look around for a proportionate personal vehicle—some large, flat, aerodynamically suitable piece of wreckage. Mount it and ride, cowboy!

That's how I'm going down...!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:52 AM on June 2, 2008


I'm with fearfulsymmetry, my favorite way to go is atomization. And somebody tell me if anybody jumps and flies and has a controlled landing without a parachute... I have a ten year old bet on this.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:34 AM on June 2, 2008


A jacket with deployable fractal streamers would really help in this kind of situation -- assuming you have enough height for the drag to kick in.
posted by Kikkoman at 3:58 AM on June 2, 2008


This page is so old I fell off my dinosaur laughing when I first read it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:48 AM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]



Any news on water landing? Better or worse than a tree?
posted by lundman at 8:29 PM on June 2, 2008


Any news on water landing? Better or worse than a tree?

Far far worse, as bad as the ground once you get above a certain height - I believe most suicides off the Golden Gate die from impact.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:57 AM on June 3, 2008


A jacket with deployable fractal streamers would really help in this kind of situation -- assuming you have enough height for the drag to kick in.

Next time I fly I'll be sure to wear one of those. And a parachute.
posted by squidlarkin at 4:48 AM on June 3, 2008


And a parachute.

I've just remembered reading somewhere - maybe Bill Bryson? - that FAA regulations have it that every plane has to have a life-jacket for all it's passengers and enough life-rafts to go around. Even if the flight is entirely over land. And having said life-jackets have never saved one life, ever. Maybe they should pack parachutes instead...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:38 AM on June 3, 2008


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