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Helium Balloon Skydiving

Because regular skydiving is too darn safe
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Just like regular skydiving, except instead of using a parachute to slow your descent, you jump out with a tank of helium that is connected to a bunch of giant deflated balloons. By opening the valve and inflating the balloons, you can gradually slow your descent, eventually coming to a complete stop mid-air, and even ascending should you so desire. Just keep an eye on your helium level to make sure you have enough to do a controlled landing.
ytk, Mar 20 2011

Falling With Helium http://what-if.xkcd.com/62/
[ytk, Sep 10 2013]

[link]






       Balloons with any decent lift are very thin and should be inflated in nearly still air. I doubt you will find such conditions during even the gentlest decent. (-)
MisterQED, Mar 21 2011
  

       However if for some reason you decided to use a more robust material, just bear in mind that you're going to get a little over a kg of lift for every cubic metre.   

       [+]
FlyingToaster, Mar 21 2011
  

       Perhaps one could use the same type of balloon used for hot air ballooning, except made out of mylar in order to trap helium. Inflate it using air, which would slow your descent somewhat, then add helium to force the air out and create buoyancy. It might require a lot of helium, but nobody said defying death was cheap.   

       I suppose at that point, instead of using helium you could heat the air inside the balloon using a backpack mounted furnace, but that sounds a bit risky.
ytk, Mar 21 2011
  

       //instead of using helium you could heat the air inside the balloon using a backpack mounted furnace, but that sounds a bit risky//   

       Or the ultimate flaming sendoff for deceased aerialists.
ldischler, Mar 21 2011
  

       The hybrid is a very strong envelope that expands into a parachute when inflated.
Voice, Mar 21 2011
  

       ...or a bungee cord to something in low Earth orbit.
hippo, Mar 21 2011
  

       Anything in low Earth orbit is going to be moving at quite a clip relative to the ground. I doubt you'd want to be dragged through the atmosphere that quickly.   

       So, attach your bungee cord to something in geostationary orbit instead. A kind of personal space elevator.
Wrongfellow, Mar 21 2011
  

       Dangerous, wildly impractical and something I wouldn't want to miss on tv or as a viral video.   

       [+]
doctorremulac3, Mar 21 2011
  

       I have this nasty feeling it might be practicable, one very long skinny balloon, deployed empty and it just trails above the diver like a drogue, as the gas gets released it just thickens it out, so no mega-instant stresses involved.   

       And upon landing the skydiver (if, by some quirk of fate, they are still alive at this point) can either inhale some of the helium for a squeaky voice, or tie it into a huge balloon dog to amuse passers by while waiting for the recovery vehicle.   

       Expect to see this kind of skydiving/street theatre in Covent Garden soon, next to the jacked potato trailer and the Tube museum.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 23 2011
  

       //the jacked potato trailer // ?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2011
  

       //the jacked potato trailer //   

       Well, it's shocking to me to see how few motorists these days know how to change a potato. That's why there's a trailer, for professional assistance.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 25 2011
  

       According to today's what-if.xkcd.com (link), this is apparently doable! Who's crazy now?   

       (Don't answer that.)
ytk, Sep 10 2013
  
      
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