Essay about The Physics behind Daredevil Motorcycle Jumpers

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The Physics behind Daredevil Motorcycle Jumpers

For a span of about 20 years only a few people were brave enough to be motorcycle stuntmen. Performing death defying jumps were and still are looked upon as a “crazy” action. It takes much practice, natural skill, and planning for a stuntman to perform a successful jump. Of course practice is dictated by ones determination, skill is acquired with the combination of practice and good genes. And the planning has to do with physics. Sure one could just “grip it and rip it” go balls out and just jump, but the safe way to do it deals with careful planning, which directly relates to physics topics. So the question is, how do motorcycle jumpers such as Evil Knievel plan out their jumps and clear such a great distance in the air?

It all starts with calculations. The first information the jumper would want to know about is the angle of the ramp, simply Theda. Then from the equation
Hd= VoCOS(theda) x time, the jumper would calculate how fast he would need to go in order to clear the gap. Lets say hypothetically Evel Knievel was attempting a jump of 100m and was launching himself off a 45 degree ramp, to find how fast he needs to go he will use the Horizontal Distance formula: 100m= Vo COS(45)(4s). Vo = 35.35m/s or 79.189 mi/h. [Horizontal Distance = initial velocity x cosine of theda x time in air]. This is the slowest possible speed Mr. Knievel could go and still clear the 100m gap, 35.35 m/s or 79.189 mi/h. So Evel Knievel knows how fast he needs to go, but there is a vertical factor that is involved, and to find out how high he is going to fly, he will use the Verticle Distance formula, Vd= VoSIN(theda) x Time – (1/2)(10)(Time^2). [Verticle Distance = initial velocity x s...

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...t as the sport’s popularity grows, so does the pool for potential daredevils. Physics is a key instrument in the overall success of the sport. It provides a since of safety with its formulas and technological advances, as well as a general structure for the performed stunt. The rider knows how fast he needs to go in order to launch himself and his motorcycle off an angled ramp and land clear on the other side of the gap. He knows how high and far he is supposed to go and this information proves crucial for the success of the stunt. Its true, that motorcycle jumping is a dangerous sport, but as the implications get safer, the world can only expect bigger jumps in the future.

Works Cited

- Hewitt, Paul. Conceptual Physics: Tenth Edition. St.
Petersburg, FL. 2006.

- World Records.

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