Is it possible to parachute safely to earth from a tall building using a bedsheet?

I mean by holding two corners of the sheet in either hand.


Mythbusters tried it with plywood. iirc they couldn’t hold on.

I’m pretty sure a sheet would have the same problem. Can’t hold on.

OTHO Mythbusters did prove a sheet can be used as a rope.

In my brothers experience, this results in broken bones.

It is said God protects drunks and little kids, but I think he made an exception in my brothers case (he was 8).

That doesn’t make much sense. Unless you’re actually being accelerated upward, you’ll never experience a force beyond your own weight. If you can hang from a static piece of plywood, then you can use one as a parachute.

That said:

  • Your terminal velocity is still probably way too high to come out alive, let alone unscathed.
  • A sustained 90 mph gust is probably enough to accelerate you upwards–in which case you have different problems.

Superman and Jimmy Olsen used S’s cape as a parachute in Kandor one time, but the atmosphere there is denser.

He did protect your brother. He went to the doctor, not the coroner.

What if you tied the four corners together? Tie the corners criss cross under your crotch and you’d have a sort of harness or saddle.


We’ll wait right here.
(Unfortunately, God seems much more interested in “teaching me a lesson” than in any kind of “protecting”…)

Most parachutes for an average adult* need to 100-200 square feet. A king size bed is about 42 square feet. Parachutes are made of materials that catch the wind like silk or nylon while bed sheets are made of cotton that wouldn’t slow the air down as much.

  • using old timey average American adult size of about 150 lbs.

How did you arrive at this figure?

Why don’t you try it and then come back and tell us the results?

I knew that. I used to organize live action role-playing game. In one of those, that was taking place in a small castle, some players who had been jailed in a tower did exactly that :eek:

One of them came to the “organization room” to tell us, so that we wouldn’t be surprised. We immediatly went there, and sure enough another was climbing down the tower with tied sheets :smack: We left those remaining going out by the door, telling them they all had successfully escaped by the window.

What the need for Mythbusters when you have Darwin awards candidates willing to test it for real?

I’m sure an umbrella would work.

Oh, wait a minute …

Back to the drawing board!

BTW thinking about how the Saudis treat their domestics I’m inclined to put this down to sheer desperation rather than stupidity.

I know this outs me as a horrible person but that made me laugh.

I do not see how two corners could possibly work, even if you were somehow able to hold on (and even if a bed sheet were big enough); you would need to hold at least three, and preferably four, to catch any air.

If the updraft varies, then you will be accelerated upwards when the rate of updraft increases.

As a kid and probably only about 7 stone in weight I tried jumping off the garage roof holding on to a really big fishing umbrella (much bigger than a golf umbrella). I was really surprised how little drag it produced and I hit the floor with a resounding thud. I’m not sure if this adds to the coversation, probably not!

Me too. That afterthought of a final sentence in my post was pure guilt. :slight_smile: