Many who travel through the lower Midwest know about Bug Brutus. It
is a huge electric-driven scoop shovel located in the extreme SE
corner of Kansas. When erected, during he early 1960's, it was the
largest shovel in the world; and was used for strip coal mining. It
was decommissioned several years later; but has been preserved as part
of a pretty neat coal mining museum near West Mineral, Ks.
Apparently some area base jumpers have been eying Brutus' 1960 boom.
One gave it a shot this past week.
I would not. The training towers at Ft Benning are 250' tall and "jumps"
are made with an already-open canopy (note the shadow in this photo):
(In ancient days back when I was indestructible I rode to the top of the
tower in the background of that photo. The trip up is scarier than the
trip down, and I quite understand this young woman's slight nervousness.
I recall being told that the T-10 parachute needed ~200' to deploy and
fully inflate in a static line jump from an aircraft going ~125 mph -
and that the minimum (very high risk) static line combat jump altitude
That jumper doesn't have his feet together...Fort Benning is a haven
for broken ankles. The equipment has changed drastically since we went
from round to square parachutes, silk or pongee to zero-porosity rip-
stop fabrics. I think when the figures you recall were accepted, they
took into account the oscillation factor, the swinging that occurrs
when your round canopy opened in a horizontal configuration. Jumping
from a moving platform, you must also add that "forward throw"
distance into the mix. At 125 mph, you'll probably travel 300 feet
horizontally before you've gone a hundred feet vertically.
Right, which means you've actually travelled a much greater total
distance than if you were base jumping. Unless I'm missing someing,
given the same chute you would need MORE altitude to open the chute in
a base jump because you're not traveling that added forward distance.
(I'm just talking about getting the chute open, and for all I know
reducing the "swinging" that you mention may negate the difference.)
Yes, "given the same chute". That's why I mentioned the newer fabrics
and designs, which have changed the sport phenomenally. Not too long
ago, a manufacturer was espousing the effectiveness of its reserve
static-line design, called the Skyhook. They were static-line base-
jumping the rig from insanely low altitudes at a major U.S. skydiving
Needed the right equipment. Here's a video of a 60+-year-old woman
rappelling down an abandoned bridge abutment to rescue a kitten.
'Course she had some skill, too. Second oldest woman to scale Mt Everest,
oldest woman to climb the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents,
etc. She's climbed the following (among others):
She heard the kitten on her morning four-mile jog. And so on.
Still, the kitten got to the ledge before she did...
Yeah, it made my day too.
But what are the chances of a world-class mountain climber just passing by a
kitten in distress?
I prefer to think somebody upstairs watches over the wee ones.
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