COULD I SUR­VIVE A PARA­CHUTE JUMP THROUGH A THUNDERCLOUD?

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Q & A -

1. BE­FORE PULLING THE RIPCORD

Sky­div­ing through rain can be painful be­cause you’re fall­ing at ter­mi­nal

ve­loc­ity, so the rain is driven into your face at up to 200km/h. In a thundercloud, your chances of be­ing hit by light­ning are higher than on the ground be­cause your wet body presents a more con­duc­tive path than the air around you. Nearby light­ning bolts will jump to you, then con­tinue to the ground. This hap­pens to planes, but the pas­sen­gers are safe be­cause the

metal skin of the plane di­verts the bolt around them.

2. AF­TER PULLING THE RIPCORD

If you try to para­chute through the thundercloud, things get much worse. The

tur­bu­lence can tan­gle your lines, or wrap you in the canopy, and the up­draughts can mean you gain al­ti­tude in­stead of fall­ing. You could be flung so high that you as­phyx­i­ate in the thin air, or freeze to death. In 1959 a US Marine pi­lot called Wil­liam Rankin ejected from an F-8 Cru­sader fighter jet di­rectly into a storm. It took him 40 min­utes to reach the ground and he

suf­fered frost­bite and se­vere de­com­pres­sion in­juries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.