How Far Are You Flung When an Amusement Park Ride Goes Terribly Wrong?

The carnival ride shown here is the Booster Maxx, which flings two gondolas of riders around in a circle at the end of its two arms. Alejandro Tauber in Amsterdam enjoys the terror of such a ride, and also wondered what could go wrong. He knew the maximum speed (90 mph) and the height of the ride (180 feet), so he calculated the maximum distance you could be flung if the restraints were to fail.  

And the rest is a piece of cake. When you leave the Booster Maxx, you are traveling at a speed of 40.3 meters per second at an angle of 45 degrees to the ground. We don’t have to take weight into account because the thing is already at full speed. Let’s leave air friction out of the equation too, but throw in some gravity for good measure.

Now we’ve got a quadratic equation and after some simple calculations, we end up with 168 meters. BUT! We haven’t accounted for the fact that you start at a height of 35.4 meters yet, which you have to add to the total distance. With that extra factor, the grand total is around 204 meters before you die a bloody and painful death.

The post at Motherboard is dressed up with diagrams and even a Google Map showing to where you would be flung if the maximum disaster were to occur (not quite all the way to the hospital). Of course, the fear of such an accident is part of the allure of carnival rides, therefore he also included a first-person description of the ride experience. -via Science Chamber of Horrors

(Image credit: Flickr user Lora Rajah)

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