Trajectory of a Falling Batman

Nananananananananananana BATMAN, Batman, Batman, Batman.

It’s BATWEEK! You may be aware that there is a film out this week.

And someone with too much time on their hands has published a paper looking into whether The Batman can really fly.

The authors, DA Marshall, RO Hinds, I Griffiths and G Douglas published their article Trajectory of a Falling Batman in the Journal of Physics Special Topics. They liken The Batman’s ‘memory cloth’ cape to a wingsuit and discuss whether The Batman could generate enough lift to glide.

Given the size of the cape and a Batman mass (or Batmass, if you will) of 95 kg. He would, the team of Leicester University physicists theorise, be able to glide for about 350 m after leaping from a 150 m building. However, his velocity would increase as he falls – predicted to reach 110 kph, which would then decrease to 80 kph (due to air resistance). Landing at this speed would be difficult to control and would lead to what I shall call a ‘BatSplat’. In their conclusions, the scientists state

Clearly gliding using a batcape is not a safe way to travel, unless a method to rapidly slow down is used such as a parachute

 

So, The Dark Knight Rises… No so much

Citation: Marshall, D.; Hands, T.; Griffiths, I.; Douglas, G.. A2_9, ‘Trajectory of a falling Batman’, Physics Special Topics, North America, 10 9 12 2011.

(Thanks to Ben Goldacre who drew my attention to this)

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