Published: August 7, 2014
What does it actually feel like to freefall towards the Earth at 120 mph?
When making a skydive, jumpers fall at a high rate of speed - approximately 120mph. Conceptually, you know you're traveling at 120mph because that's what we've told you (it makes freefall sound super exciting!). Physically, however, you really have no idea how fast you're falling! Why?
Let's consider a familiar example of how we perceive speed in daily life: driving.
Imagine you're making your morning commute to work. As you speed down the highway, the trees on either side of the road seem to whiz by. The faster you drive, the faster the trees goes by. This visual reference lets you know that you're driving fast, REALLY FAST!
Now imagine you're skydiving. You know you're freefalling FAST, but just how fast exactly? Can you tell?
Unlike the tree-lined highway, in the sky there are no fixed objects to give you visual feedback on how fast you're traveling. In fact, the only time you'll realize just how fast you're moving in freefall is if you fly past a cloud. Suddenly, you'll be acutely aware that you're really cooking!
So now you know! Check back next week for more interesting skydiving facts.
I had the time of my life!!
» Amy Tyrer Weaver