Topics: Terminal velocity, Force, Parachute Pages: 3 (956 words) Published: March 12, 2013
Skydiving can be an exhilarating sport whether it is deadly or done correctly. Skydiving is the sport of jumping from an aircraft and performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air under free fall before landing on the ground with a parachute. As the skydiver falls, he or she encounters the force of air resistance. The amount of air resistance is dependent on two variables, speed and cross-sectional area. The speed of the skydiver accelerates downwards and gains speed with each second. The increase in speed is accompanied by an increase in air resistance. This force of air resistance counters the force of gravity. Once the force of air resistance is as large as the force of gravity, a balance of forces is reached and the skydiver no longer accelerates and then reaches terminal velocity. The cross-sectional area of the skydiver in the spread eagle position encounters more air resistance than a skydiver who assumes the pencil-dive position. The greater cross-sectional area of a skydiver in the spread eagle position leads to a greater air resistance and a tendency to reach a slower terminal velocity. Once the skydiver leaves the aircraft, or plane, they leave a projectile motion and could leave the plane at maximum speeds ranging from 53 meters per second (m/s) to 76m/s. This range of speed is a skydiver reaching terminal velocity. Terminal velocity occurs during free fall when a falling body experiences zero acceleration. It is a constant speed that a freely falling object, in this case skydiver, eventually reaches when the force of the resistance of the medium, as air, is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the force of gravity. A falling body eventually experiences zero acceleration because of the force known as air resistance. Air resistance exists because air molecules collide into a falling body creating an upward force in which opposites gravity. This upward force will eventually balance the falling body's weight and will continue to fall at constant...
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