Ever been in a car that's gone airborne?

I watched The Dukes of Hazzard growing up, and always fantasized about jumping over a river when a bridge is out. How cool that would be! :cool: Or perhaps not… am not sure what it would do to my spine upon landing. :frowning:

So I am curious about a couple things:

  1. What would happen to me if I jumped a creek or small river - from embankment to embankment - in my Saturn Sedan? Would I get hurt? Would my car survive?

  2. Have you ever been in a vehicle that’s gone airborne?

Not a car, but a boat. It sucked.

(Checks if this is GD, no it’s not) Well, no I haven’t.

But if it was a Duke’s of Hazzard river jump first of all the car would approach the bank of the river at an ill-advisedly slow speed, then just before it hit the edge the camera angle would change and you would see the car leap 45 degrees over some bushes that hadn’t been there before, cruise through the air in slow motion, and then smash, radiator first, into the bank on the other side. The stunt driver would then unbuckle his full racing harness, drink a bottle of scotch and retire in pain at 39 years of age.

Let’s just say, that as a teenager, I learned the hard way, that the Duke of Hazzard isn’t real.

(Funny, this was my answer before I even read the OP)

Yes. But it only lasted seconds. In a town near where I grew up there was a back road with a hill and if you were going fast enough when you got to the top of the hill the car would be air borne and then land with a satisfying teeth shattering smash. We did it all the time until my boyfriend got a newer car.

Twice intentionally with a car. There is a set of railroad tracks on a backroad into Barrie, Ontario that are raised and if you hit them at the right (extralegal) speed the car would get airborne. Did it twice for kicks but it only got maybe a foot off the ground for about 20 feet. That was enough for me. On my mountain bike I’ve been airborne plenty. That was scary a few times.

Jumping your Saturn is going to destroy the car on landing unless you seriuosly beef up the suspension unless you have a perfect landing ramp.

Yeah, as a stupid teenager I drove my car fast over a humpback railway bridge in a deliberate attempt to get airborne (the location was well known to my idiot friends as ‘Lee Jump’) - all 4 wheels briefly left the road and I very nearly lost control of the vehicle as it came back down. It destroyed the rear shock absorbers. Possibly the stupidest thing I ever did in a car, but there were other events that might have been equally stupid.

No, never did that.

Yesterday on the way to work, we saw a jeep that had the word “Airborne” on the side. I knew what it meant, but my immediate thought was, “thank goodness you’re not!”

By accident. I came around a turn in a Falling Rock Zone to find a fallen rock blocking my lane. I went right, it sheared off the drivers front wheel, I went up the stone face and went airborne flipping the car at least once mid-air. I landed on a guard-rail with the post coming up the back of the seat. Another few inches and it would have been bye-bye me. Small sports car (MG B) and luckily I had four-point restraints and a roll cage but ---------- lets just say that I never want the feeling again. Motorcycles – yeah. I have and will continue to jump those now and then. But with all that steel around me and strapped in even when it is the best thing? Nope – I’ll take a pass.

Missed a curve in a road and launched a 72 Javelin into a corn field. Only went a few feet off the ground, bouncing along the furrows did more damage than the landing. Both rear upper shock mounts failed which caused the shocks to puncture the trunk floor and broke one of the leaf springs. Also left a small outward dent in the roof from my head. Farmer pulled me out with his tractor and charged me $200 for the damage to his field.


Plenty of small hills around Brewster, NY.

IMDB Trivia Page for The Dukes of Hazzard says…

Every time we’d watch the show when we were kids we’d make a game out of calling out times when axles would have broken, or other significant damage would have been done to the cars. Yea, we were those kinds of kids.


One time, was late for an appointment in the country on a snowy day. I came up to an intersection where I thought I had the right of way at highway speed, but it was a T intersection dead end and I could not stop before hitting the ditch. I flew off the embankment, landed in the snow, and hit a fence post which went flying straight up like a rocket.

I wasn’t hurt, took a deep breath, and went outside to see the damage expecting to see a crumpled tire and front end. There wasn’t any damage. The embankment was fairly shallow and had about half a foot of snow. No rocks, no slew, no steep drop off. I put my car in reverse and drove out. Yes, I was Lucky!

A fair amount of railroad tracks where I grew up had gentle ramps that if you hit them fast enough you could a achieve complete airborne. It neither damaged me nor the car.

Rusty Griswold: Wow Dad, we must have jumped that rail by like 50 yards!

Clark: Nothing to be proud of, Russ…

[pauses as Rusty walks away]

Clark: [proudly] 50 yards…

As best I could tell, yes, but probably not very high. I intentionally drove my AMC Hornet, AKA The Tank, at a high rate of speed down a dirt road toward a hump that immediately preceded a down hill grade. I couldn’t actually witness the wheels leaving the ground as I was busy driving and my buddy in the passenger seat couldn’t as he was too busy hitting his head on the roof (seatbelts? Pshaw, this was 1980, no one wore seat belts). When we stopped to survey any damage I found that the rear end had come down hard enough to bend my license plate. So between the head shot and the bent tag I’m guessing we did leave the ground.

My experience is with railroad tracks, as well. Lots of fun!

yes for a second or 2. We had a road in high school called thrill hill. if you hit it around 55 you would get air.

Yup. When I was a teenager my dad got his '69 Impala airborne over one of the myriad little rolling hills on Highway 4 near Calaveras CA. Mom yelled at him something fierce but we in the back seat thought that was pretty damned cool. Fast forward some years later and I had inherited that Impala and felt it necessary to repeat the stunt. Which I did, twice, once departing downtown Sacramento on Hwy 16 where there’s a railroad bridge with a big hump after it–get up to 60 or so and all the wheels get off the ground. I also did it on another railroad embankment. The Impala survived all this unscathed and eventually died from a blown transmission.

I lost my taste for car jumping while driving a '63 Galaxie POS belonging to a friend at 60mph when the left tie rod broke catastrophically, sending the car over a goodly ditch. That landing dislocated my hip and for some reason I’ve not felt the need to get cars airborne since. Funny, that. :wink:

Without a ramp, you would fall directly into the river. How far out would depend on how fast and how deep the embankment. If both embankments are the same height, then at best you would slam head on into the far embankment at high speed. So imagine the damage from just driving into a wall. If you just land in the water, depending on how deep it is, think about drowning. But your car will be flooded. Insurance will probably total it.