July 10, 2012
Could Batman Really Fly?
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Batman has many uses for his utility belt and outfit, and he even has the ability to glide with his cape, but researchers say he would die a horrible death if he did so.
A new study of the aerodynamics of his cape found that Batman could fly using just his cape, but his landing wouldn't be so pleasant, especially if he lands on a white van containing scarecrow.
The researchers wanted to see whether the 15-feet wingspan of Batman's special cape would be enough to keep him aloft over Gotham City.
According to the study, if Batman jumped from a 429-feet building, he could glide a distance of around 1,148-feet.
However, his velocity would increase to about 68 mph as he started to descend, reaching a steady 50 mph as he approached street level, meeting a whole new evil villain by the name of asphalt.
The four students in the study found that the cape crusader should consider taking a parachute with him for safe travels in the Gotham skyline.
"At these high speeds any impact would likely be fatal if not severely damaging (consider impact with a car traveling at these speeds)," the authors wrote in the University of Leicester Journal of Special Physics Topics.
"Clearly gliding using a batcape is not a safe way to travel, unless a method to rapidly slow down is used such as a parachute."
The findings come out in the midst of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, which premiers July 20. The film is the third installment of a franchise directed by Christopher Nolan, which includes the other films Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
One of the team members, David Marshall, had a suggestion in the publication for Nolan to consider if he didn't want to see his superhero fall victim to asphalt, the street dwelling nemesis of batman and underboss of the infamous character known as gravity.
"If Batman wanted to survive the flight, he would definitely need a bigger cape," Marshall wrote in the journal. "Or if he preferred to keep his style intact he could opt for using active propulsion, such as jets to keep himself aloft."