Sport: Zorb
Tornado Leaping   (+41, -2)  [vote for, against]
You'll believe a man can fly!

We’ve all heard tales about objects, animals and people who have been carried miles through the air after being caught in the vortex of a tornado. Terrifying tales are told of the destructive power of these storms and any sensible person heads straight to the storm shelter whenever there’s one in the area.

This seems to me to be a terribly timid reaction and a lost opportunity to get the old adrenaline pumping.

Enter the new extreme sport of Tornado Leaping.

Instead of heading for the bunker just because it’s got a bit windy, real men will now head for the wardrobe to retrieve and don their Tornado Leaping kit (a cross between a High-G suit, full body armour and a Zorb ball). Once kitted out, they can race straight towards the swirling vortex of death and hurl themselves headlong into it. Who knows where the fates will take you!

Insurance not available.
-- DrBob, Apr 06 2006

Troy's suit http://www.weaponsb...oy-hurtubise_58.jpg
[normzone, Jul 23 2008]

Gert Steegman's cycles into 'whirlwind'.
The first (unwitting) attempt to bake this idea. If only he'd used the proper Tornado Leaping outfit. [DrBob, Mar 10 2010]

Wingsuit http://en.wikipedia...iki/Wingsuit_flying
[goldbb, Mar 10 2010]

How do you measure the strength of a tornado? http://www.independ...lstorm-1141050.html
[DrBob, Mar 15 2010]

Troy Hurtubise's suit and a giant zorb meets a tornado. +

(sounds like a fairy tale)
-- skinflaps, Apr 06 2006

You might get more customers if you don't advertise it as a "swirling vortex of death".
-- hippo, Apr 06 2006

+ as long as real women can fly, too......wwhheeeee
-- xandram, Apr 06 2006

I have a feeling that the low pressure within the tornado would cause the Zorb ball to explode, possibly along with your chest cavity. Collision with something seems inevitable, so you might end up showering the neighboring city with your entrails. How then do you judge the points?
-- dbmag9, Apr 06 2006

...and my little dog too.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 06 2006

<clicks heels> no place like down the pub </ch>
-- po, Apr 06 2006

Given the amount of force at which you'd be propelled into something, you're going to need a much larger Zorb ball than normal to slow the impact at a reasonable rate. + anyway.
-- RayfordSteele, Apr 06 2006

I tried really hard to find flaws in this idea. I really did, honest. [+]
-- methinksnot, Apr 06 2006

Ok, I have a dumb question... when you dial 911 on your GPS enabled cell phone, does it send your location just once, or does it keep updating?
-- lurch, Apr 07 2006

//You might get more customers if you don't advertise it as a "swirling vortex of death".//

Nah. I know my target audience!

//+ as long as real women can fly, too//

But of course. I used the term 'real men' merely as a generic description for nutters of all sexes, colours, races and religions.

//when you dial 911 on your GPS enabled cell phone, does it send your location just once, or does it keep updating?//

I'd be surprised if a cell phone would get a signal out from the middle of a tornado. It's worth a try though. Let me know how it goes!
-- DrBob, Apr 07 2006

The zorb should be made solely of linen or hemp sailcloth, and if, on inspection, any part of it isn't, you should say "This isn't canvas in toto"
-- coprocephalous, Apr 07 2006

If I only had a pun...

May I suggest that, if more than one tornado leaper is using the same tornado, they wear numbers on the balls and there be some kind of grand scheme of lottery/bingo played?
-- Jinbish, Apr 07 2006

just buy a ticket and the people in their balls that live r the winning numbers? :)--- gotta love it!
-- wakeNbake, Apr 07 2006

The low pressure inside a tornado isn't *that* low... as least it has never been measured to that degree. The few measurements that have been taken indicate that it may be as low as 0.15 atmospheres, but other reports have estimated more like 0.9 atm. Either way, as long as you didn't intentionally hold your breath, you'd be alright. You might need to have an oxygen suppliment for the time that you were directly in the core of the tornado. The ball/vehicle would more than likely just need to be vented, as the structure necessary to hold up in that pressure difference would probably be too heavy to get aloft.

Presumably, once you got aloft, and had some way of staying aloft, there wouldn't be much for you to hit that isn't already moving close to your speed. 'Landing' might require some clever engineering. The human body can survive in excess of 5gs without many major problems, so as long as you designed the ball to have a terminal velocity under 100 mph or so, and was squishy enough to absorb some of that initial impact, you would probably be okay coming down. Maybe not too healthy, but alive.
-- Agamemnon, Apr 07 2006

Agamemnon, I'm thinking that there would still be some collisions, at least with things of substantially different aerodynamic characteristics. It seems to me that objects in a tornado are being balanced between centrifugal force and gravity on one hand, and the inward and upward aspects of the airflow on the other. I was thinking that it might be possible to map airflow by calculating values for objects in a tornado video, but haven't done anything about it yet. Nor have I researched to see if anyone has done any work on that idea.
-- baconbrain, Apr 07 2006

Definitely marketable. Similar to real-life surfers in hurricanes.
-- sophocles, Apr 07 2006

You could pressurize this capsule?
-- Cuit_au_Four, Apr 09 2006

Why not have a portable, telescoping tower for the launch so that it would be like human T-ball?
-- zigness, Apr 09 2006

That's because they don't suddenly get dumped there.
-- RayfordSteele, Apr 10 2006

//the prevailing pressure at the South Pole is about .65 atmospheres//

-- Custardguts, Jul 21 2008

This is just so wrong - (+)
-- normzone, Jul 21 2008

Wrong, in so many ways [+]
-- Klaatu, Jul 21 2008

and yet so least North of the equator that is.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 22 2008

The cheap version could be an old wine barrel wrapped in a whole bunch of bubble wrap.

-- nomocrow, Jul 23 2008

There is an advertisement on TV where this idea is baked.
-- simonj, Jul 24 2008

When I saw the idea's name, I thought / hoped it was going to involve jumping into a tornado, wearing a wingsuit. But [+] anyway :)
-- goldbb, Mar 10 2010

What sort of acceleration would the vict... errr customer be subjected to? If the g-forces are too high (including striking the ground when dropped from a great height), I doubt any amount of armor or padding will stop various internal organs getting squished.
-- mouseposture, Mar 11 2010

Extensive research reveals, mouseposture, that tornadoes are measured by the amount of damage they cause. I therefore propose that a new Tornado Leaping scale be adopted as follows...

Level 1 - "Dull". Zorb unaffected or bumps lightly along the ground. No noticeable affect on adrenaline levels. No damage to Zorb or occupant.

Level 2 - "Interesting but not like the real thing". As level 1 but with some airborne motion. Noticeable increase in adrenaline levels with first lift off but tails off rapidly.

Level 3 - "A bit more like it". Extended periods of aerial activity. Slightly scarey contact between Zorb and cars, buildings and large items of airborne detritus. Adrenaline levels high. Noticeable pounding of the heart. Some jarring impacts but no physical damage.

Level 4 - "Whoa!" Extensive, prolonged and disorienting aerial activity. Heavy impacts with almost everything. Rapid, nausea-inducing changes in altitude. Adrenaline production in overdrive. Heart banging away like a jackhammer. Some heavy bruising and risk of broken limbs.

Level 5 - "Oh fuck! Oh fuck!". Zorb thrown around like a Killer Whale playing with a baby sealion. Many objects likely to become embedded in skin of Zorb. Occupant disoriented or concussed. High probability of broken limbs and ribs. Nerves shattered.

Level 6 - "Aaaargh!". Both Zorb and occupant explode or are smashed flatter than a pancake. Adrenaline production has ceased as have other respiratory functions. Much blood evident.
-- DrBob, Mar 15 2010

What, no trebuchet to launch the Zorb into the eye of the tornado? Seems like an essential part to "really get the ball moving"!
-- jurist, Mar 15 2010

The problem with the [DrBob] Tornado Leaping scale is that adrenaline junkies require increasing amounts of danger to acheive the same adrenaline level. We urgently need an International Standard Adrenaline Junkie to be kept under glass in Paris along with the International Standard Meter. The Meter, I believe, is periodically taken out and cleaned; The Adrenaline Junkie would be taken out once a year (on April 1st) and a white-coated laboratory technician would say "Boo!" to him.
-- mouseposture, Mar 16 2010

Dr. Bob, I have good news and bad news. This was your best idea. [+]
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 16 2010

You make it sound like I'm never going to have another idea ever again. Should I be worried?
-- DrBob, Mar 16 2010

Depends on whether you decide to try out this idea!
-- mwburden, Mar 16 2010

random, halfbakery