We have all been brought up to believe that a free fall from any height greater than the distance between the bed and the bedroom floor would be fatal, 100 percent of the time. It seems that our parents and our righteous teachers were all wrong. We were duped. In reality, you can jump out of an airplane, without any parachute, and easily survive.
Ok, that was an exaggeration. “Easily survive” and “jump out of an airplane” (sometimes even with a parachute) are 2 very contradictory statements. However, in case you ever have the misfortune of finding yourself in such a position, you may just be able to beat the odds and maybe get away with a few broken bones instead of a nice 6 foot hole in the ground.
Think of Nick Alkemade, an RAF tailgunner who jumped from his flaming turret without a parachute and fell 18,000 feet. When he came to and saw stars overhead, he lit a cigarette. He would later describe the fall as “a pleasant experience.”
The article Unplanned Freefall? Some Survival Tips should be a highly interesting read for anyone. I read it with great awe and though I have no intent to test out these tips, the piece has managed to spark my interest in the limits of the human body and the laws of physics related to these limits. From the article:
Think of the pluses in your situation. For example, although you fall faster and faster for the first fifteen seconds or so, you soon reach “terminal velocity”—the point at which atmospheric drag resists gravity’s acceleration in a perfect standoff. Not only do you stop speeding up, but because the air is thickening as you fall, you actually begin to slow down. With every foot that you drop, you are going slower and slower.
Read the whole thing for some good tips and anecdotes of people who did manage to survive. Who knows, maybe one day you may be able to brag about surviving such a desperate situation. Just remember to mention where you got the info from.