Freefallin’!

2014-10-09 20:06:00.000 – Arielle Ahrens, Summit Intern

 

It seems as though we beat the other shift to 100+ mph speeds this season…

During our off-week, we all went skydiving together! We joined Skydive New England last Monday morning for a shift adventure. Ryan and Mike Dorfman have both been skydiving before, but it was the first time for Kaitlyn and I. It was probably the scariest and the coolest thing I’ve ever done.

The first 45-60 seconds after jumping out of the plane were spent in free fall. We quickly approached ~120 mph, close to terminal velocity. Terminal velocity is the speed at which falling objects stop accelerating. (More on skydiving and terminal velocity here.)

Basically, when you jump out of a plane, there are two forces acting on you: gravity and friction of the air. Eventually these forces will equal out and that is when you achieve terminal velocity. When you open the parachute, the force caused by friction of the air increases because you increase your surface area. If you still have a long way to fall, it is possible that these forces could equal out again and you would once again reach terminal velocity (although in this situation it would be slower). However, when you’re skydiving the parachute opens and you safely glide back to the ground.

 

Arielle Ahrens, Summit Intern

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