Drag Force




The Physics of Skydiving
By Dane Lenaker
Web Project for Physics 211x Fall 2002

What Is Skydiving?

Skydiving is an adrenaline-based sport with a fairly simple concept -- jump from a high place (usually out of a plane) from several thousand feet above sea level and hope and pray for a safe landing. This safe landing is often times achieved through the use of a device called a parachute, which enables the skydiver to reduce his speed to such a point that colliding with the earth will not be fatal.


This website will explain a few of the key concepts behind the physics of skydiving. First we will explore why a skydiver accelerates after he leaps out of the plane before his jump, second we will try and explain the drag forces effecting the skydiver, and lastly we will attempt to explain how terminal velocity works.