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Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson, Human Resources Consultant
Category: Job
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Experience:  GPHR Cert from SHRM; Military provided 20 yrs exp managing & directing all HR areas + 7 yrs corp
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If you jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet, and you free ...

Customer Question

If you jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet, and you free fall for 1 minute, how far can you travel in your parachute from the initial departure from the plane? Please assume you have headwinds of approximately 10 to 20 mph.
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Job
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
I am assuming a parachutist can answer this question without needing more information like the height and weight of the individual and the type of parachute he is deploying.
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 11 years ago.


Will a special forces soldier fit the bill?

Exiting the plane in full equipment, and the parachute is not open, and we are in free fall, that would be a distance on average of 10,000 feet.

However, your parachute requires 80 feet to open.

If you are jumping static line, you will travel about 80 feet when your chute opens.

I does not matter how high you are, necessarily...It is the fact that it takes about one minute to travel about 10,000 feet in free fall. Terminal velocity for all of us free fallers is reached in about 14 seconds.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
You did not understand the question. If I jump out at a point over the Empire State Building, how far away will I land from the Empire State Building? Or what is the diameter of the drop zone?? I have jumped from an airplane and I understand the drop zone is in the shape of a parallelogram. What are its dimensions??
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 11 years ago.

Ok, tell me this.

Are you wanting to just take care of lateral drift or are you trying to track (maneuver, fly) as far as you can from the empire state building as you can get in one minute of free fall time?

The drop zone is a variable and can be very small or very large. All drop zones are not parallelograms. Drop zones are shaped according to their purpose. Some are round and others oval, however the military uses a parallelogram starting with a square of about 600 yards and adding 64 yards in length for each additional jumper or stick. The speed of the aircraft helps to determine how long the jump zone will be.

So I need to know how fast the airplane is going.

What is the altitude you want to open the chute. I assume you want to open the chute, because after one minute in free fall at 10,000 feet you will hit the ground. The recommended elevation for opening the chute is 3,000 feet, but you can go as low as 1,000, but that would be pucker power.

For a plane traveling 90 to 110 miles per hour, you would want a drop zone to aim for with its outer limits being 600 yards by 600 yards. If you are jumping off the empire state building at 0 velocity, your drop zone could be about 300 yards by 300 to 400 x 400 yards. A 10 to 20 mile an hour head wind would only be drift you in free fall a few feet or yards at best.

However if you can grab air, you might be able to track 900 to 1200 feet five or take 10%.

If the wind were 10 miles per hour and you were jumping off the top of the building, your horizontal drift would be 495 to 648 feet.

A 20 mile per hour constant wind would yield the same distance as grabbing air.

This all assumes you do not have wind changes at various altitudes on the way down.

Some one who is tracking and knows how to change directions and 'fly" can stay close to the building and have almost no drift at all.

On the other hand a skilled HALO jumper can track 1 foot horizontally for each foot of vertical fall.

Skilled sports jumpers only require a drop zone of about 25 meters.