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Author Topic: If a parachute fails to open, how likely are you to die before impact?  (Read 6519 times)

Offline Ians Daddy

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This was sent to me directly some time ago. I just discovered that we had, as members, an in-box for messages. I've never been accused of being the brightest bulb.
I found the question interesting. What say you?

parachute jumping...
« Sent to: Ians Daddy on: 02/12/2008 20:03:07 »     

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Hi, okay so I have a question regarding the topic of death before impact...actually two.
Okay well first, which has kind of already been answered, can you die from a heart attack before impact?
and second, if you do die before impact, can a coroner tell the difference if you did or not?
« Last Edit: 23/01/2010 23:05:37 by chris »


 

Offline doppler1

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I suspect that if you die before impact and your heart has stopped then in fact you have died of a heart attack and a coroner will be able to determine that, provided the impact is not so big as to destroy or mash the body to the extent that the trauma on the body post mortem destroys other tell tales.
 

Offline stereologist

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One of the interesting things I learned while rock climbing was that people do not scream when they fall great heights. According to an article written in Psychology Today (many, many years ago), people turn around to see where they are going. I would suggest that a person falling with a failed chute is more likely scrambling to fix the situation than becoming hysterical.
 

Offline graham.d

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I don't think it likely that you would die before impact at all unless you had a heart disease then that, combined with stress, would be the underlying cause.

As an ex-rockclimber myself I am curious how one learns that people don't scream when falling from a great height - where there many samples to build up these statistics in your experience stereologist? :-) I only fell when leading once and just got away with it by hitting the ground, the guy belaying me and being held by the rope and a belay about simultaneously. As I landed astride my second's crash helmet, it was not a pain free experience. I do remember much detail during the descent though - this thing about time seeming to slow seems correct.
 

Offline Geezer

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Quite a few people have managed to survive falling out of aircraft without a chute. It does not matter how high up the plane was, you'll be going at the same speed regardless. Apparently, your best shot is to try to land on a steep, snow covered slope. Avoid water; it's like concrete at the speeds involved.
 

Offline RD

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Apparently, your best shot is to try to land on a steep, snow covered slope.

and If possible climb into a duvet cover first ...
NR=1  [:0]
« Last Edit: 27/01/2010 20:33:56 by RD »
 

Offline Geezer

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Apparently, your best shot is to try to land on a steep, snow covered slope.

and If possible climb into a duvet cover first ...
NR=1  [:0]

There you go! It's simply a matter of translating enough of your vertical velocity into horizontal velocity.

The guy in the "flying squirrel" suit wimped out at the end and used a chute, but I wonder if it would be possible to make a water landing with a modified suit without a chute? The horizontal velocity might be a bit fast - 80 MPH maybe? - but your chances might be much better than slamming straight down. It might even be possible to take advantage of ground effect (or water effect?) to achieve a soft landing.
 

Offline RD

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The guy in the "flying squirrel" suit wimped out at the end and used a chute...

"flying squirrel" a.k.a. "wing-suit man" is planning to dispense with the parachute ...
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=15549.msg183081#msg183081

[that's gonna be one helluva friction burn]
 

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