Friday, June 17, 2011

Sky diving elite

I just might never have seen anything quite this awesome:

We earth-bound schmucks can scarcely appreciate what's going on here, because we have the ground to help us control our motion. In the air, there are six degrees of motion these guys need to control: three for movement (up-down, left-right, and forward-backward) and three for rotation (forward or backward roll, spinning left or right like a skater, and rolling left or right like a cartwheel). If you ever made the mistake of watching that forgettable Space Camp* movie, you might recall the spinning chair that combines all three degrees of rotation in a bewildering fashion, and how hard it was to sort them out and gain control. These guys have mastered that and movement through space.

It's hard, really hard. That's why the Wright Brothers spent years working with gliders a few feet off the ground before building their airplane. They knew that learning to fly was going to be far harder than figuring out how to get the machine in the air.

The way these guys exit is just beautiful.

Via Daily Dish

* Not only a forgettable movie, but one which had the bad luck to be released all too soon after the Challenger disaster.


James Hanley said...

Last time we were in L.A. we watched people doing this at the Universal Studios City Walk. I may have to pony up the cash for it some day. It's spendy, but not out of the price range of an average person who wants to splurge for a really unusual experience.

Perplexity Peccable said...

This reminds me of a book by Spider Robinson (Starseed? Stardance?) starring his wife Jeanne as an innovator in outer space dancing. The idea was that gravity places limits on both what dancers are physically able to do, and what the audience is willing to accept. Wow.

Scott Hanley said...

You just put me in mind of some Arthur C. Clarke novel I read years ago. The protagonist grew up on Saturn's moon, Titan, and took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Earth, where he found the gravity extraordinarily difficult to deal with; he'd never been so heavy in his life. At one point he attends a ballet and is rather underwhelmed at the dancers' leaps, which just don't measure up to what anyone on Titan could manage/