Surface Speed vs. Fall (Jun, 1932)

Surface Speed vs. Fall

HIGH SPEED is the watchword of this age, more than of any other which has preceded it. The eighteenth century provided no means to attain a high speed of travel. Even the loftiest building from which one could jump would not give you the speed of arrival with which a motor car or a plane can now strike an obstacle.

Used to travel at forty, fifty, sixty miles an hour, so smoothly that there is hardly a sensation of motion, it is hard for us to appreciate what a high velocity really means. Our forefathers, riding on horseback or in a coach, had successive vigorous bumps and thumps by which to estimate their rate of progress; and it is not surprising that they considered that the shock of thirty miles an hour would be too much for the human frame.

Forty miles an hour, on a level road, is now a fair driving speed; but, as the illustration above shows, it is the highest velocity attained in a drop of 54 feet, perpendicularly; and a sudden stop while going 40 miles an hour means a shock equivalent to such a fall.

The various distances of fall which give readily measurable rates of speed are shown here, as an easy method of explaining them graphically; and the high velocities obtained by racing cars and planes are almost beyond imagination, as they are beyond those of any falls of the nature illustrated here.

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