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February 1, 2010 9:43 AM   Subscribe

How to fall 35,000 feet.
posted by shakespeherian (63 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Paging asavage...
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:48 AM on February 1, 2010


just a jump to the left...
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 AM on February 1, 2010


Infrequently.
posted by DU at 9:56 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aim the orange gun directly up and then shoot the blue gun at your feet.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:58 AM on February 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


carefully
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:59 AM on February 1, 2010


clenching your ass appears to be the critical move.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:00 AM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Make sure a mysterious island with strange electromagnetic and spacetime travel properties is beneath you. Be prepared for the possibility that you'll hit the ground before you actually started falling.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:01 AM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rev the motorcycle engine and exclaim
I'VE GOTTA BE FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
I'VE GOTTA BE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
da-da-da-da-deeeeee

posted by cavalier at 10:02 AM on February 1, 2010


Pop Will Eat Itself vs the Twilight Zone.
(Junk metal in the air youtube link)
posted by poe at 10:03 AM on February 1, 2010


MetaFilter: clenching your ass appears to be the critical move
posted by DU at 10:04 AM on February 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'll be so much less nervous on transatlantic flights!

Contrary to popular belief, water is an awful choice.

Well that's just great.
posted by sallybrown at 10:06 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Japanese parachutist Yasuhiro Kubo, who holds the world record in the activity’s banzai category. The sky diver tosses his chute from the plane and then jumps out after it, waiting as long as possible to retrieve it, put it on and pull the ripcord. In 2000, Kubo—starting from 9842 feet—fell for 50 seconds before recovering his gear.
I've been trying to find any more information on this batshitinsane sport, particularly video, and have come up empty. Best I could do was this video of a guy jumping unequipped and being caught mid-air by a tandem skydiver (and then sexually assaulted, by the looks of things).
posted by Nelson at 10:08 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


As adapted from that most wholly remarkable of books:

Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far (which, given your current circumstances, seems more likely): Consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer.
posted by jedicus at 10:08 AM on February 1, 2010


I have this horrible reoccurring dream where I'm suspended on a floating toilet 35,000 feet in the air, with nowhere to go but down. Now I know what to do. Thank you.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:08 AM on February 1, 2010


I've had that dream before, too.
posted by not_on_display at 10:13 AM on February 1, 2010


posted by mccarty.tim:
"Paging asavage..."

From The Free Fall Research Page:

   MythBusters
   On a MythBusters episode that first aired on August 10, 2005, the show concluded, after dropping a piece of an airplane fuselage about 2,000 feet, that it was plausible that someone could survive such an incident, even though their test dummy, Buster, was crushed in the fall. Had he been sitting in another part of the fuselage, they surmise, the outcome would have been different. The show was inspired by Vesna Vulovic's amazing survival story. It seems to me that Vesna already proved the point beyond a shadow of a doubt, but that's TV for you.

posted by not_on_display at 10:17 AM on February 1, 2010


This was absolutely fascinating. I'll try and keep this in my pocket the next time I get on a commercial aircraft. I might actually manage to read the whole thing on the way down, too!
posted by Askiba at 10:20 AM on February 1, 2010


What's this big wide thing suddenly coming toward me fast, VERY VERY fast! It's such a big wide thing it needs a big wide friendly word, something like "ow" "ownd" "round" "gr... GROUND!" That's it! GROUND! I wonder if it'll be friends with me!
posted by hippybear at 10:23 AM on February 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


Nice to see a shout-out to Juliane Koepcke in there, her story knocked my socks off as a kid. I remember especially the story raising the point that when the salvage teams got to the crash site they found that the bodies were in different states of decomp, suggesting that there had been more survivors but that they had chosen not to leave the site.
posted by Iteki at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Falling by James Dickey, because I can't read about any freefall without remembering it and reading it one more goddamn time.
posted by maudlin at 10:28 AM on February 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


The falling part is pretty easy. The landing and surviving part is really the trick.
posted by eriko at 10:29 AM on February 1, 2010


How to fall 35,000 feet without dying: Jump from 36,000 feet.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:31 AM on February 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


I might actually manage to read the whole thing on the way down, too!

I used to work at a company that makes glass cockpits - the shiny flat panel displays and associated computer guts that replace analog gauges in aircraft. They included a set of electronic checklists which would pop up on the screen and you could check off each step as you walked through it. Per the airframer's orders, we included both "normal" and "emergency" checklists.

My personal favorite was that we included an emergency checklist on these computers for "complete loss of electrical power".
posted by backseatpilot at 10:35 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


And back on track, everyone knows that the way to survive falling 35,000 feet is to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:35 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nelson, the opinion of several semi-crazed sports parachutists that I work with is that the fumbling as the guy with the chute "mounts" Travis in that video is that he's hooking himself up to the harness Travis is wearing under those shorts.

Crazy stuff non the less.
posted by hardcode at 10:37 AM on February 1, 2010


If you’re lucky, you might find that your injuries are minor, stand up and smoke a celebratory cigarette, as British tail gunner Nicholas Alkemade did in 1944 after landing in snowy bushes following an 18,000-foot plummet.

that is BADASS.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:38 AM on February 1, 2010


> If you’re lucky, you might find that your injuries are minor, stand up and smoke a celebratory cigarette, as British tail gunner Nicholas Alkemade did in 1944 after landing in snowy bushes following an 18,000-foot plummet.

that is BADASS.


Yes indeed. Tarantino should have worked a variation of that story into Inglourious Basterds. Of course, if he had people would have complained it was too ridiculous...
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:45 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Go limp, like a dummy?
posted by norm at 10:49 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Japanese parachutist Yasuhiro Kubo, who holds the world record in the activity’s banzai category. The sky diver tosses his chute from the plane and then jumps out after it, waiting as long as possible to retrieve it, put it on and pull the ripcord. In 2000, Kubo—starting from 9842 feet—fell for 50 seconds before recovering his gear.

I've been trying to find any more information on this batshitinsane sport, particularly video, and have come up empty. Best I could do was this video of a guy jumping unequipped and being caught mid-air by a tandem skydiver (and then sexually assaulted, by the looks of things).


The only thing that could top that is to strap your parachute to a tiger, chuck it out the plane and then jump out after it (obviously the plane is also on fire as you jump).
posted by panboi at 10:49 AM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


the most important piece of advice, for reasons both unmentionable and easily understood, is to clench your butt.

Um, don't worry...If I find myself 35,000 feet in the air, with no airplane MY. BUTT. WILL. BE. CLENCHED.

What other useless advice does this guy have?

"Whatever you do, don't stop shrieking and sobbing."
"Be sure to take the time and soil yourself."
"Don't forget to bounce."
posted by PlusDistance at 10:55 AM on February 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


If you have accidentally ingested the Higgs Boson...
posted by anazgnos at 11:07 AM on February 1, 2010


I've been trying to find any more information on this batshitinsane sport, particularly video, and have come up empty.

You just know that the origin of this sport involves some ridiculous story about a frat team, drunken skydiving, and one hilarious verbal misunderstanding.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:12 AM on February 1, 2010


I really don't care about the falling part. It's sticking the landing that I'm interested in.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:18 AM on February 1, 2010


I don't know how skydivers do their jumps without the Superman theme pounding in their head.
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on February 1, 2010


Good thing the TSA will let you take parachutes as carry-on luggage.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on February 1, 2010


It's such a big wide thing it needs a big wide friendly word, something like "ow" "ownd" "round" "gr... GROUND!" That's it! GROUND! I wonder if it'll be friends with me!

Oh no, not again.
posted by JHarris at 11:30 AM on February 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


"I've been trying to find any more information on this batshitinsane sport, particularly video, and have come up empty."

"You just know that the origin of this sport involves some ridiculous story about a frat team, drunken skydiving, and one hilarious verbal misunderstanding."


I figure it all came about during repeated viewings of Point Break.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:30 AM on February 1, 2010


How to fall 35,000 feet.

That's easy; 1.) find something 35,00 feet high. 2.) Jump.

Oh we're talking about how to survive...

3.) Bring a parachute.

...without a parachute.

crap. Uh,

4.) Spontaneous macro-evolution; grow wings.

5.) Glide safely to the earth.

6.) Spend the rest of your life explaining that you aren't an angel.

I got nothin'.
posted by quin at 12:00 PM on February 1, 2010


6.) Spend the rest of your life explaining claiming that you aren't an to be a motherfucking angel.
posted by generichuman at 12:03 PM on February 1, 2010


Astro Zombies are trained to fall very long distances without dying. Our secret?

We're zombies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:03 PM on February 1, 2010


Pretty sure i've said this before in the blue. But it bears repeating: Dan Koeppel is a great writer. I do not know him, nor have I ever met him. But I have always thot so.
posted by RockyChrysler at 12:04 PM on February 1, 2010


Astro Zombies are trained to fall very long distances without dying.

Um, doesn't being a zombie imply that you have at some point died? Ergo falling a great distance without dying would mean that on is decidedly non-zombified. Now, falling a great distance and continuing to be dead, now, that would be zombie territory.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:06 PM on February 1, 2010


Well I used to just latch on to Patrick Swayze and ride him to safety, but then he went and died, so this article could come in handy.
posted by mannequito at 2:00 PM on February 1, 2010


Now, falling a great distance and continuing to be dead, now, that would be zombie territory.

Yes; that's exactly how we do it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2010


Aim for snow, hope your landing doesn't trigger an avalanche which subsequently buries you alive.

Because that would suck.
posted by bwg at 5:33 PM on February 1, 2010


Die intentionally. Head first, perfect oblivion.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:53 PM on February 1, 2010


Every time I see one of these articles, I feel like this article should get referenced. David Carkeet did it first and best.
posted by bpm140 at 6:23 PM on February 1, 2010


Die intentionally. Head first, perfect oblivion.
Yikes.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:32 AM on February 2, 2010


Aim the orange gun directly up and then shoot the blue gun at your feet.

I'm sorry, you have failed Aperture Science Enrichment Center Excessive Height Crisis Management Scenario 44b-1. Please report to the debreifing incinerator for re-training.

For future reference, the correct answer is to fire both portals at the ground, one directly below and the other nearby. You will then oscillate between the two portals, eventually coming to rest at ground level, unharmed.

Your proposed answer would have simply meant you exchanged "falling 35,000 feet" for "falling infinity feet" - provided of course you were in a room with a 35,000 foot high ceiling.

Thank you, and enjoy your cake.
posted by GLaDOS at 5:08 AM on February 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


According to that article, you will be suddenly able to breathe at 22,000 feet.

My arse, you will. That's 12,000 feet above the ceiling that requires either pressurised cabins or a personal oxygen supply, by CAA regulations. So more than twice as high as you'd need to be to ned oxygen - aviation types tell me you can, maybe, get away with it up to about 14,000 feet if you're lucky. You'd be falling well past 10K before you came back around, I suspect. Slightly oxogenated air is unlikely to bring anyone around from a blackout.
posted by Brockles at 6:13 AM on February 2, 2010


Slightly oxogenated air is unlikely to bring anyone around from a blackout.

I don't know either way, but would the fact that that slightly oxygenated air is blasting you in the face and howling in your ears augment its restorative effects?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:54 AM on February 2, 2010


I shouldn't have read that. I'm a nervous but resigned flier. I say my prayers and then I sit back and read, because really, what else is there to do?

Now I have a job to do? I have to remember that? Yikes!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:20 AM on February 2, 2010


I say my prayers and then I sit back and read, because really, what else is there to do?


Fear not.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:28 AM on February 2, 2010


Wait, this is the one. It has an oxygen canister and an automatic chute deploy. I'm going to start wearing one at all times.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:36 AM on February 2, 2010


FOR SALE
Parachute, never deployed. Used only once!
Minor staining on back and shoulder straps
posted by backseatpilot at 8:17 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is how I go to work in the morning.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:01 AM on February 2, 2010


I don't know either way, but would the fact that that slightly oxygenated air is blasting you in the face and howling in your ears augment its restorative effects?

I very much doubt it. You'd still only get the same amount of air/oxygen per lungful, surely? It's not like you have gills where the increased through flow would still (um, maybe) allow you to extract oxygen with the extra volume. You'd still, to my understanding, have to be in a sufficiently oxygen rich environment for a certain amount of time to recover. This is why the people that have planes that lose compression on auto pilot still crash - one happened a few years ago - they go through the 12k (or so) to zero stage faster than their bodies will recover in the improved air.

I'd be surprised if it made any difference at all, to be honest. I have a vision of "if you were pelted in the face with 10,000:1 ratio of polystyrene pellets versus peanuts, would you still starve? But really, that's just an amusing picture and maybe not even in any way relevant...
posted by Brockles at 4:31 PM on February 2, 2010


That's 12,000 feet above the ceiling that requires either pressurised cabins or a personal oxygen supply, by CAA regulations.

I've skydived from 15,000 feet. No oxy mask required. And the bulkhead door was half-open the whole way up, too.

What I really want is one of those ribbon-parachutes a la the MDK game .
posted by macowell at 4:32 PM on February 2, 2010


I very much doubt it. You'd still only get the same amount of air/oxygen per lungful, surely? It's not like you have gills where the increased through flow would still (um, maybe) allow you to extract oxygen with the extra volume.

Actually, what I was cheekily saying there is that the force and noise of the wind resistance would be a huge alarm clock, not that there would be more oxygen.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:06 AM on February 3, 2010


Is there any reason why there aren't parachutes stuffed into passengers' seats, poised to deploy in case of separation from the aircraft, like an airbag would deploy if you were in an carcrash?
posted by not_on_display at 2:28 PM on February 3, 2010


Is there any reason why there aren't parachutes stuffed into passengers' seats, poised to deploy in case of separation from the aircraft, like an airbag would deploy if you were in an carcrash?

I am not an aviation analyst, but I would bet that death insurance is cheaper than maintaining millions of expensive parachutes.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:31 PM on February 3, 2010


"I am not an aviation analyst, but I would bet that death insurance is cheaper than maintaining millions of expensive parachutes."
posted by Burhanistan

Here are more reasons, and one of the coolest URL's
posted by not_on_display at 4:20 PM on February 3, 2010


Is there any reason why there aren't parachutes stuffed into passengers' seats, poised to deploy in case of separation from the aircraft, like an airbag would deploy if you were in an carcrash?

Why, yes. There are a number of reasons:

-Catastrophic disintegration of the aircraft in flight is exceedingly rare
-When aircraft do disintegrate, it usually involves contact with a large, immovable object (e.g., .the ground). The impact is usually not survivable.
-It is far, far safer to "ride the airplane down" than it is to try to bail out mid-flight. The biggest concern during a bailout is breaking your back by impacting the tail. With bigger airplanes that go faster, the slipstream is likely to carry you along the body of the plane instead of out and away enough to deploy a chute.

That being said, some other points:
-Many small aircraft are now equipped with airbags. Many modern GA planes have 3- or 5-point harnesses, and the airbag is built into the shoulder strap. It deploys in front of you in the event of an impact.
-The FAA is looking in to airbag requirements on airliners. but I'm not sure if there's enough evidence yet that the expense would save significantly more lives. These would be hidden behind the tray table, much like car airbags inside the steering column. They won't save you from "catastrophic" impacts like the Colgan Air flight whose investigation was just completed, but, say, a runway impact with a second aircraft might be survivable.
-Aerobatic pilots are required to carry parachutes. This is because many of the maneuvers that they perform can result in an irrecoverable spin if you're not careful. Far better to take your chances bailing out in that instance.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:00 PM on February 3, 2010


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