# If a lift is falling to the ground.

If a lift is falling to the ground and the person inside jumps in the air just before it crashes at the bottom, would the person inside be hurt or not?

No, not in the slightest. To demonstrate, I suggest you grab a piece of plywood and climb to the top of the largest building or bridge in your town. Put the board under your feet and jump, shouting, “In the name of Science!”

At the very last minute before you hit the ground - jump straight up. The board will be smashed into a million pieces, but clever you will float, feather-like to the ground.

Trust me - it’s a thrill like no other!

Of course, if you’d like to give flying a go, make sure to just miss the ground on your way down.

And bring a bag in case there are any snipe around - they can be vicious.

Hell is Other People.

Jumping isn’t going to help- even if you jumped up right before it hit the ground, you wouldn’t be able to offset YOUR downward force much. You’d still smack into the ground when you came down from the jump.
I think Cecil covered something like this years ago- check the archives for more information. (:

You would decelerate your fall by a little more than you accelerated the fall of the lift, do to the difference in masses. This would not be enough to save you. Then the lift’s ceiling would come crashing down on you as the sides collapsed. You are now organic goo mixed with the rubble.

I’m only your wildest fear, from the corners of your darkest thoughts.

You might try lying as flat as possible to make the area of contact as large as possible. Tell me how that works.

Cecil did cover this. Here it is:
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_205a.html

Waitaminnit. Physics question.

If I was in a free-falling elevator, wouldn’t I be falling at the same rate?

Wouldn’t I essentially be “floating” inside the elevator… meaning my feet would not be on the floor… meaning any kind of jump would be well nigh impossible?

Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

No, there is probably friction, however small, slowing the elevator down by just enough to keep your feet on its floor.

Is the lift made of marshmellows?

We live in an age that reads to much to be wise, and thinks too much to be beautiful–Oscar Wilde

I wonder why all those people die in plane crashes. if they only knew all they had to do is jump a little.

We live in an age that reads to much to be wise, and thinks too much to be beautiful–Oscar Wilde

There is a great Bill Cosby comedy routine where he talks about being in a crowded lift that breaks free and begins to plumet toward the basement. He goes on to say something to the effect of “I’ve always wondered what would happen if you jumped at the last minute…you never know…” He goes on for a little bit more, and finally comcludes with “What a sight it would be to come upon that elevator after it crashes to the basement…they’d find a bunch of people dead on the floor, and one idiot with his head jammed through the roof.”

I’m not sure I’ve quoted Mr. Cosby correctly, but the comedy routine had me laughing so hard I had tears running down my face.

Civility costs nothing.

I don’t know about elevators, but I’ve always been afraid of jumping in a plane for fear that the front of the plane would come and smack me in the face…

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

I have wondered if you would survive. What if you are in an elevator going to the 3rd floor,then it breaks and falls. Is that low enough to survive?

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Ignoring the (very important) fact that jumping would not save you, I can’t help wondering how would you know when the elevator was about to hit.

Virtually yours,

DrMatrix

When I was studying physics in university, a common problem was calculating the size and number of windings for a spring that would decelerate a falling elevator such that the occupants would only undergo X number of G’s if it free fell from a certain height.

Does anyone know if such springs were ever used in an elevator shaft? I have my doubts, since safety brakes have been a feature of elevators since almost day one, but you never know…

<<I don’t know about elevators, but I’ve always been afraid of jumping in a plane for fear that the front of the plane would come and smack me in the face…>>

wouldn’t the plane have to be flying backwards?

So why do they call them elevators or lifts. . .if what goes up must come down? You could just as well call them deelevators or lowerers, couldn’t you? Why not vertical buses?

Ray (preserving parity for posterity)

I have seen bumper springs at the bottom of shafts for short-rise (total four levels) hydraulic elevators.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Of COURSE you can’t jump up in a crashing elevator. The idea is to step neatly off onto the ground floor as it goes hurtling past to the cellar. Don’t you ever watch the cartoons?

Uke