Bungee Jumping from Extreme Heights

Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping is an activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. Usually one would be jumping from a fixed structure, such as a building, bridge or crane however, jumping from an object able to move such as a hot-air-balloon or helicopter, that has the ability to hover above the ground, is also possible. After the person jumps, they fall downward while the cord stretches, then jumper flies upwards again as the cord snaps back (not actually snapping though), and continues to oscillate up and down until all the energy is dissipated.

Bungee Jumping History

In the 1950s, brought from the Pentecost Island in Vanuatu by David Attenborough and a BBC film crew, there was footage of “land divers,” young men in there passage to man hood, jumping from tall wooden platforms with vines ties to their ankles as a test of their courage. April 1st 1979 marked the first modern bungee jumps by the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club, at the 250ft Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, and were arrested shortly after. The jumpers continued in the US with jumps from the Golden Gate Bridge and Royal Gorge Bridge which was televised and sponsored by That’s Incredible, which spread the idea worldwide. By 1982, they were bungee jumping from mobile cranes and hot air balloons.

AJ Hackett, a New Zealander, began the commercial bungee jumping trend. Auckland’s Greenhithe Bridge was where he made his first bungee jump in 1986. Hackett continued to jump from various bridges and other structures, including the Eiffel Tower. These bungee jumps built public interest toward the sport thus opened the world’s first permanent commercial bungee jumping site, the Kawarau Bridge Bungee at Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand. Since 1980, despite the basic dangers of jumping from great height, millions of successful jumps have been made. Bungee operators are rigorously are complying with the standards and guidelines for bungee jumping, for instance, double checking calculations and fittings for every jump. Injuries can still occur and in some cases fatalities have happened, usually fatalities happen due to the cord being too long. The cord should be substantially shorter than the height of the jumping platform to allow it room to stretch. When the cord reaches its natural length the jumper either starts to slow down or keeps accelerating depending upon the speed of descent. One may not even start to slow until the cord has been stretched a significant amount, because the cord’s resistance to distortion is zero at the natural length, and increases only gradually after, taking some time to even equal the jumper’s weight.

Bungee Jumping Equipment

Factory-produces braided shock cord is the elastic rope first used in bungee jumping and today still used by many commercial operators. This consists of many latex strands enclosed in a tough outer cover. The outer cover may be applied when the latex is pre-stressed, so that the cord’s resistance to extension is already significant at the cord’s natural length. This gives a harder, sharper bounce. The braided cover also provides significant durability benefits. Other operators, including A J Hackett and most southern-hemisphere operators, use unbraided cords with exposed latex strands . These give a softer, longer bounce and can be produced at home. There may be a certain elegance in using only a simple ankle attachment, but accidents where participants became detached led many commercial operators to use a body harness, if only as a backup for an ankle attachment. Body harnesses generally derive from climbing equipment rather than parachute equipment.

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