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Kite Swinging

Tall Bridges as Giant Swing Sets
  [vote for,

The basic idea is to hang a steel cable off the side of a bridge, long enough to almost reach to ground or water below. At the end of the cable is a harness, into which the swinger is strapped. Once secured, the swinger gains momentum and height by using a special kite that has been designed for rapid deployment and collapse.

Depending on a variety of factors--the height of the bridge, size of the kite, strength and consistency of the wind, weight of the swinger, etc.--kite swingers of various persuasions can engage in the sport in their own style. Speed freaks could use smaller, but faster-to-deploy-and-collapse kites to maximize their swing time, while the more idyllic could use larger kites to actually sustain themselves at an altitude higher than the anchor point.

While the use of steel cable might appear to make this sport safer than bungee jumping, it does present its own risks. First, the g-forces generated by the travel through extremely long arcs may be severe. I am no calculus genius, so I will leave it to others to calculate the g's generated by falling through arcs of varying radii.

Another obvious hazard is bridge supports. This risk can be mitigated by judicious measurement of the cable length and distance from the anchor point to the piling.

Watch out for large boats.

Less obvious is the risk of "jolting trauma". This can occur if drops are made from elevations much higher than the anchor point on the leeward side of the bridge. Even worse could be a wind that pushed a swinger, ascending the windward portion of the arc on a long cable, backwards, such that a lot of slack is created in his cable. Shock absorbers could be placed somewhere along the length of the cable to lessen this danger as well.

As with any extreme-type sport, those who can manage the risks could find joy in inventing tricks that challenge the body and please the eye...or the camera.

If any of this ever appears on ESPN2, I don't demand any royalties, but some free gear and other assorted schwag from the sponsors would be greatly appreciated.

Guncrazy, Dec 06 2003

Swinging from bridges http://www.bungee.c...app/press/pboy.html
[Klaatu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

They would need a better safety record than this. http://www.bungeezo...isasters/club.shtml
[Klaatu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Spinnaker flying http://www.vagabond...spinnakerflying.jpg
This fits near the idyllic end of the spectrum. [FishFinger, Oct 14 2008]


       How about swinging too far and either
A: Landing ON the bridge
B: Or the Wlye E. Coyote outcome of wrapping arround the bridge
Letsbuildafort, Dec 06 2003

       Climbers do this when the climbing season slows down. <link>
Klaatu, Dec 06 2003

       What sort of speeds are we reaching here? What sort of Gs? I'm thinking this would be dangerous and uncomfortable.
phoenix, Dec 06 2003

       Peaking out at the 90 degree position in the arc, you'd fall at 1 g. If you eliminated air drag, In fact, I'm tempted to say that the most you'd ever experience would be a constant 1 g of acceleration, directed towards the center of the arc. Personally I would avoid going any higher than when the jolting starts to occur.
RayfordSteele, Dec 06 2003

       "...you'd fall at 1 g."
You'd accelerate until you reached terminal velocity, depending on the size of the swing. You'd get more than one g as you completed the bottom part of the arc. It would be like the world's largest roller coaster, but with only one hill.
phoenix, Dec 07 2003

       Yeah. What [Phoenix] said. Think about it. If you were just hanging motionless at the bottom of the rope, just over the water, you'd still be experiencing 1g of force. Like you're experiencing right now. But if you're swinging in an arc, then you'd experience the additional force of your velocity squared, divided by the length of the rope.
Overpanic, Dec 07 2003

       Yep, you're right. My bad.
RayfordSteele, Dec 07 2003

       This might still be interesting, I just think you'd have to be really careful as to how it was implemented.
phoenix, Dec 07 2003

       Do regular swingers bridges have pampas grass growing on the approach?
wagster, Oct 16 2008


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