Friday, April 07, 2006

Hurling Humans

The always interesting Norwood Matt sent along this, regarding a man in France who used a giant slingshot to hurl himself in the air and then parachute down to safety. Awesome video of the attempt here. He was successful.

This is unlike the a previous human catapult attempt. A few years ago, a Bulgarian college student named Dino Yankov was catapulted out of a giant trebuchet somewhere in England. Unfortunately, something went wrong and he missed the net. The trebuchet owners were charged with manslaughter by the English authorities. A good friend of mine, who is one of the world's best trebuchet builders and a professor of engineering at Virginia Military Academy worked on the case as an expert witness.

Last October, there was an official inquest into the incident. According to the London Guardian:

Describing Mr Yankov's jump (the eyewitness) said: "At some stage I saw Dino as a ball in the air. He then missed the safety net, but I couldn't say by how much.

"As he hit the ground I heard a thud and then a second thud."

Paramedics rushed to the scene and Mr Yankov was taken to Bristol's Frenchay hospital where he later died.

Explaining the safety procedure to the jury, he said that each jumper was initially weighed and placed into a weight category. The jumper was then weighed again while wearing safety equipment.

The weights on the trebuchet are then changed to match the weight of the jumper and a test weight that corresponds to the jumper's weight is then fired to check for any problems.

Last year, Mr Wicks and Mr Aitkenhead were acquitted of Mr Yankov's manslaughter after the trial collapsed at Bristol crown court.

A series of pictures from more successful hurlings of humans by catapult are here. I must say, these are pretty cool pictures.

1 comment:

John Lipinski said...

uhh... were those people crazy? why would anyone want to do that??? i can understand hurling dummies like mannequins, but humans?