The terminal velocity of a falling human being with arms and legs outstretched is about 120 miles per hour (192 km per hour) – slower than a lead balloon, but a good deal faster than a feather!

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 16 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

The terminal velocity of a falling human being with arms and legs outstretched is about 120 miles per hour (192 km per hour) - slower than a lead balloon, but a good deal faster than a feather!

So I went sky diving today. And I have to say that it was awesome (If I hadn’t gone, it would have just been aweso). Anyways, I went with my Dad and two of his buddies from college, Kurt and Charlie. Despite the fact that I would be falling at close to 200kph, I received very little instruction: cross my arms and put my head on the instructors left shoulder; wait for him to tap both my arms, then stick my hands out like I’m flossing my ears. Put my feet on his butt and arch my back.

I got on my jumpsuit, although I saw several other sky divers that were wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and then put on a a special tandem harness. I got one of those dinky skydiver hats that make you look like a conehead and some goggles. Myself and 22 other sky divers, including 4 from the USAF, clambered into a DHC-6 “Twin Otter” and proceeded to about the 5.5 kilometer mark (18,500 feet ASL).

Talk about an economy airline: wooden benches and no backrests, practially sitting on top of each other. I was actually glad to jump out of the plane. So we reached out jump altitude and everybody went on their merry way down. I was the second to last to jump. My instructor and I proceeded to the back of the plane. I assumed my position and we just sort of tumbled out.

Now let me take a moment to explain what my brain was thinking: You fool! You just willingly jumped out of a perfectly good plane with some stranger strapped to your back who your counting on to not kill you. You probably have a better chance of going out with Christina then landing with this fool on your back. You iddddd-iooot!

Jumping out had to be the best part, and scariest part, because when you jump out, you have zero vertical speed and 160kph of horizontal speed. However, as soon as you jump, you gain vertical speed very fast…9.8 meters/sec2 fast. And then there’s the fact that you have just jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. We were in free fall for quite some time, almost a minute. It’s really quite cool because after about 20 seconds, you’re not accelerating anymore. You’ve reached terminal velocity. A point at which your not fat enough to fall any faster…well, actually you’re not dense enough. The pull of gravity is counterbalenced by the molecules of air that are hitting your body at 200kph and you just float…just like in space.

So after minute, I pulled the shoot and we slowed down pretty quickly. We glided for a little while and then landed….which really was more falling on my butt then landing. Wow. I’m going to have to become a certified sky diver now.

I should have pictures and video up in the next few days.

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