October 14, 2009

Hot air ballooning — when to jump.

"Two Dutch men and two women were killed. A fifth Dutch tourist was slightly injured, along with the two pilots. The pilots had jumped from the basket as the balloon plunged, thus reducing their injuries."

32 comments:

MadisonMan said...

If God had meant humans to travel in hot air balloons, he would have made our cheeks a lot more elastic.

You can also avoid tragedies like this by following my tactic: Never get in a hot air balloon basket.

rhhardin said...

Only jump if it's burning.

Otherwise go down with the basket.

Lem said...

“The pilots had jumped from the basket as the balloon plunged, thus reducing their injuries."

I thought that was only true in cartoons.

– Dear MithBusters
I have the greatest idea for a show.

Greg Hlatky said...

In general, I avoid hobbies or activities where gravity could have an adverse effect.

wv: sciate. My sciate nerve is acting up again.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You can also avoid tragedies like this by following my tactic: Never get in a hot air balloon basket.

Testify.

There are always hot air balloon rides here in Indianpolis. I don't think there is enough bourbon in Kentucky to get my muscular buttocks in a wicker basket held up by a balloon.

Ann Althouse said...

I love Hoosiers with muscular buttocks!

ironrailsironweights said...

Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?
Would you like to glide in my beautiful balloon?
We could float among the stars together, you and I.

For we can fly.
We can fly!
Up, up and away, my beautiful, my beautiful balloon!

The world's a nicer place in my beautiful balloon.
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon.
We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky,

For we can fly.
We can fly!
Up, up and away, my beautiful, my beautiful balloon!

Suspended under a twilight canopy
We'll search the clouds for a star to guide us.
If by some chance you find yourself loving me,
We'll find a cloud to hide us, keep the moon beside us.

Love is waiting there in my beautiful ballon.
Way up in the air in my beautiful balloon.
If you'll hold my hand, we'll chase your dream across the sky,

For we can fly.
We can fly!
Up, up and away, my beautiful, my beautiful balloon!


Peter

Synova said...

We just had our International Balloon Festival (really *really* big deal here in Albuquerque) and they'd had a series of little accidents and injuries (dumped some people out when a basket caught on a tent, etc.) so my first reaction was, Oh, no! something truly horrible happened and I hadn't heard.

My second reaction was relief, thank goodness they died somewhere *else*...

Which probably makes me a bad person.

*sigh*

The Drill SGT said...

The only thing worse that the decision of when to jump from a flaming balloon that is descending, is deciding when to jump from a flaming balloon that is rising.

Like the stock market, the smart ones get out early with only broken legs

David said...

The pilots were not exactly Captain Sully, eh?

Original Mike said...

I love Hoosiers with muscular buttocks!

Category: More information than we needed.

AllenS said...

Parachute-- don't leave the earth without one.

bagoh20 said...

Flying something you can't steer is nuts. In hang gliding we have complete control, but still have parachutes, just in case we want to fly again someday.

Synova said...

I will say though...

Back when I got to ride in a fighter jet trainer or two, the pilot always explained the bailout procedures in detail.

"If I yell, "BAIL OUT, BAIL OUT, BAIL OUT" three times, then pull that lever there, hard, and keep your elbows in as tight as you can. But, I'll be honest here... what you'll probably hear is... "BAIL OUT, BAIL OUT, ... baaailll ooouuuutttt..."

When the pilot goes... YOU go.

bill said...

I like flying but I have a real problem getting into a flying machine, made out of flammable stuff, kept aloft by a great big open flame.

Quasimodo said...

I thought that was only true in cartoons.

The dead ones jumped too early and attained terminal (for them) velocity. The survivors braved the flames a bit longer and thus did not attain lethal velocity as the balloon - even on fire - fell much slower than a person would. When and if they finally did jump, their velocity on impact was much lower.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I love Hoosiers with muscular buttocks!

Well I wear shorts so I'd probably be voted off the Althouse island.

Hoosier Daddy said...


"If I yell, "BAIL OUT, BAIL OUT, BAIL OUT" three times, then pull that lever there, hard, and keep your elbows in as tight as you can. But, I'll be honest here... what you'll probably hear is... "BAIL OUT, BAIL OUT, ... baaailll ooouuuutttt..."


Heh. That reminds me of a scene from Flight of the Intruder where the pilot was telling his passenger (the ship surgeon) what happens if they have to ditch.

BoxmanDoc, if we have to ditch, I'll yell, eject, eject, eject. Then you pull that lever over your head. Gravity will do the rest.

SurgeonOk. ok. Do I say 'Roger" or "Copy?"

Boxman If you even say 'huh' you'll be talking to yourself. Cause I'll be gone.

jimbino said...

Their jumping certainly helped others survive, since it reduced the weight in the basket by a couple hundred kilos.

Bissage said...

Their deaths will not be avenged until four Chinese tourists stumble into the mechanisms of a Dutch windmill and are ground into flour.

Chip Ahoy said...

I could never understand the physics of momentum. For years I pondered why, as depicted in movies, people jumping from trains took a terrible tumble. Seemed to me once you jumped and your feet left the train, you were sideways to the train and it would be like jumping from a stationary platform.

Same thing with the Mythbusters "jumping in a falling elevator" episode. If you could jump at the precise last moment, the elevator would crash but your jump would be an ordinary jump. The problem there is judging the precise moment before the crash, which is quite impossible.

In the case of the balloon, you couldn't just hang off the edge and fall off a falling balloon, you'd have to actually jump upward from the falling balloon at the moment before it crashed, and that's harder done than visualized.

I hold these truths to be self-evident.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I could never understand the physics of momentum.

If Freder Frederson were here he could probably educate us all.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Sounds like Ann is looking for a muscular mandate

Hoosier Daddy said...

Sounds like Ann is looking for a muscular mandate

Meade's a mountain biker if I'm not mistaken. It goes with the territory.

Original Mike said...

If Freder Frederson were here he could probably educate us all.

Don't distract him. He's needs to figure that light bulb thing out before we give him a new problem.

WV: "honest". Really.

Fred4Pres said...

I was going to bring up the jumping in an elevator experiment, but you beat me to it.

And I think Quasimodo nailed the physics of survival here.

In a way like staying on the Titanic till the last possible moment.

The Drill SGT said...

Unless the balloon is going up and in flames.

a different calculus then.

jeff said...

If you can convince physics to take a break then the hopping in a elevator might work. Otherwise it won't make a bit of difference no matter when you time it. I always liked the idea though.

jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Same thing with the Mythbusters "jumping in a falling elevator" episode. If you could jump at the precise last moment, the elevator would crash but your jump would be an ordinary jump. The problem there is judging the precise moment before the crash, which is quite impossible.

Well, that and the fact that to counteract your momentum you'll have to put the same energy in your jump as you've gained on the way down. So if the elevator started free falling at the tenth floor your jump would have to be such that you would clear the tenth floor if you weren't falling in an elevator.

Even Spud Webb in his prime only had a 42 inch vertical jump.

jeff said...

"Well, that and the fact that to counteract your momentum you'll have to put the same energy in your jump as you've gained on the way down."

even if you did it wouldnt help. You are pushing against something falling just as fast as you are. The only think you are doing is cracking your head against the roof of the elevator. And still falling just as fast as you were before. You just opened a gap between your feet and the elevator floor.

AllenS said...

The problem here isn't the fall, it's the sudden stop.