Is this true???

JaceTheAce

Well-Known Member
I was watching Aviation Disasters Vol 1 - a really cheesy video, but the information was cool anyhow - and a medical examiner on the video said that a woman survived a 38,000 foot fall after a Yugoslavian jetliner collided with a British airliner mid-air. Does anyone have any more information on this? I thought this was unreal.

They were also mentioning that in the Lockerbie crash in 1988 there was someone that had a pulse after plummeting the 30,000 or so feet after the jet exploded from the terrorist bomb - I'm thinking that the only way this could happen if the person was cushioned by a structure or extremely soft and flexible ground. It's so sad to hear that people lost conscious during the sudden depressurizing but regained consciousness between 15 and 10 thousand feet, finding out that they were free falling in the air. I can' even imagine the way these people felt.
 

Joshua949

New Member
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It's so sad to hear that people lost conscious during the sudden depressurizing but regained consciousness between 15 and 10 thousand feet, finding out that they were free falling in the air. I can' even imagine the way these people felt.

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I couldn't even imagine that. The two main things that would be on my mind if that did happen to me would be: 1.) Am I able to direct myself to water if there is any nearby, 2.) Fall back asleep quick.

It's hard to think that something of that tragic could happen.
 

cime_sp

Well-Known Member
It could be true. There are a number of accounts of people falling from great heights and living, especially among skydivers whose shoots don't open.

I've actually watched a program about it on the discovery channel or something like that and they tell you to try and stear yourself onto a hill if you can. The fact that some of that motion is dissipated by the slope of the hill gives you the best chance of survival. They actually spevifically tell you to not go towards water. They say at that speed it is like hitting concrete. Also, spread yourself out in the air to slow your descent as much as possible.

But still....you're pretty muc a gonner!!!
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
Once you get above (someone might know the exact number) 10000 feet or more you will hit terminal velocity on the way down. The height of the fall doesn't really matter. That said, the only case of a long distance un retarded fall I know of involved a Russian (I think) military pilot who ejected at over FL320 and had their chute fail. He survived because on the way down he crashed through a bunch of pine trees and the branches slowed him down.

Ethan
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
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It could be true. There are a number of accounts of people falling from great heights and living, especially among skydivers whose shoots don't open.


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I've been skydiving for almost 3 years now, and I've never heard of anyone surviving a fall like that. Any articles to back it up?

Falling for that long you are undoubtedly at or above terminal velocity. If you hit the ground at that speed (without anything breaking your fall), you are toast. Period.

I personally know three skydivers who've been killed. Not one hit the ground at terminal velocity. One (one of my instructors) was killed BASE jumping (not at term. velocity), and the other two were killed under perfectly functioning canopies. "Chutes not opening" being a frequent occurance is a huge stereotype.

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I've actually watched a program about it on the discovery channel or something like that and they tell you to try and stear yourself onto a hill if you can.

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I would pay to see someone who has never been in freefall before be able to "steer" themselves anywhere but into the fetal position.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
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I've been skydiving for almost 3 years now, and I've never heard of anyone surviving a fall like that. Any articles to back it up?

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Does anyone remember the TV show 911 with William Shattner (sp?)? There were at least two guys on there I remember seeing survive a fall without their parachute opening. So it can happen, but it rarely happens, almost never.
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
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Falling for that long you are undoubtedly at or above terminal velocity.

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Above terminal velocity? Wouldn't that violate some law of physics?
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
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Falling for that long you are undoubtedly at or above terminal velocity.

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Pleasae don't make me pull out my physics junk...
...but I don't believe you can fall any faster than terminal velocity.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
I didn't see it, so I could be wrong, but I highly doubt it. Here is what probably happened:

As you may know, skydivers jump with two chutes, a "Main" and a slightly smaller "Reserve". The main is packed by the jumper (if they are experienced and not lazy
) and the reserve is packed every 120 days by an FAA-certified 'chute rigger.

Anyways...if you deploy the main, and have a problem, you can "cut away". This doesn't involve actually cutting anything, its just a term. You pull what almost looks like a ripcord located on the right Main Lift Web (the "backpack strap"). Pulling that will release the main chute from the rig. Immediately after cutting away, you pull a ripcord located on the left main lift web to deploy the reserve.

Usually when the media gets into a tizzy over a skydiver who's chute didn't open, its when they cut away too low and they didn't have time to deploy the reserve, or the reserve didn't fully open. Depending on a lot of different factors (deployment altitude, type of malfunction, type of reserve, reaction time, etc.) this is very possible. Example: Deploy the main low only to find that you have a malfunction. Try a little too long to fix it, and cutaway at less than 1000 ft. You're dead before you let go of the reserve handle.

Typically when no parachute is deployed at all, its because the jumper went unconscience for some reason in freefall and didn't have an AAD (Automatic Activation Device). Most jumpers jump with these devices, the most common of which is called a "Cypres". Its is a device that measures fall rate and altitude. If you pass through a certain altitude and are still in freefall, it will deploy the reserve. Some dropzones actually require them.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
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Falling for that long you are undoubtedly at or above terminal velocity.

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Pleasae don't make me pull out my physics junk...
...but I don't believe you can fall any faster than terminal velocity.

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Well, I'm not a physics major, so I can't remember what T.V. actually is (I think its 120 mph). Skydivers can and frequently DO fall in excess of 200 mph. Fall rate depends on body position. Belly-to-earth=slow(er). Head-down=fast.
 

aceflyley

New Member
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Well, I'm not a physics major, so I can't remember what T.V. actually is (I think its 120 mph). Skydivers can and frequently DO fall in excess of 200 mph. Fall rate depends on body position. Belly-to-earth=slow(er). Head-down=fast.

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Yeah, that makes sense, but that doesn't mean you're going faster than terminal velocity. Putting your head down would reduce your drag and change the terminal velocity (I think). T.V. isn't a set number, its different for each body position, object, etc.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
OK, well in that case I meant at or above what is typical for terminal velocity. Whatever...like I said, not a physics major.

Mtsu, maybe you could break out that textbook and explain it?
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
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Well, I'm not a physics major, so I can't remember what T.V. actually is (I think its 120 mph). Skydivers can and frequently DO fall in excess of 200 mph. Fall rate depends on body position. Belly-to-earth=slow(er). Head-down=fast.

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Yeah, that makes sense, but that doesn't mean you're going faster than terminal velocity. Putting your head down would reduce your drag and change the terminal velocity (I think). T.V. isn't a set number, its different for each body position, object, etc.

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It doesn't actually change the terminal velocity....just the specific maximum speed of the fall for that particular object...(I think, as well...any Physics majors feel free to chime in...).

True terminal velocity would only be reached in a perfect vacuum. Since we have an atmosphere, the drag would slow a falling object down. Since there will ALWAYS be some drag, a falling object would never be able to go as fast as it would in a vacuum.
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
From dictionary.com:
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n : the constant maximum velocity reached by a body falling through the atmosphere under the attraction of gravity

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Now correct me if I'm wrong, but in a vacuum, there is no terminal velocity, since there is no air/atmosphere to slow you down. You would just keep accelerating. Not 100% sure on this though; I haven't had a physics course since high school (2 years).
 

Kristie

Mama Bear....
Staff member
If you were falling that quickly from above 10,000 ft -> wouldn't you first run out of air (no pressurized compartment) and then have a heart attack and/or convulsions from the mock speed of fall??? therefore saving you from feeling yourself hit the ground?!
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
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If you were falling that quickly from above 10,000 ft -> wouldn't you first run out of air (no pressurized compartment) and then have a heart attack and/or convulsions from the mock speed of fall??? therefore saving you from feeling yourself hit the ground?!

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Nah, most skydivers jump from between 12,000 and 15,500. 75% of my jumps are from 13,500. Quite a few are from 15,500. The rest are hop 'n' pops from 6000.

Lack of oxygen isn't really a factor until you get above 15,500 (albeit regulatory for the pilot above 14k and "provided" to us above 15k).
 
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