Fun with Fundamentals: Problem 239

Sept. 1, 2000
Don’t look down as you dive into this physics quandary.

Problem 239: Bombs away

Orville D. Buzzard, a local amateur pilot who was kicked out of flight school after one too many close encounters, has just been offered $10,000 cash to test a new parachute system under development at Sky’s the Limit Inc. Never one to turn down easy money, Buzzard agrees to try the prototype equipment. The company’s chief engineer Nev R. Wright explains how the experiment will run.

“The parachute is operated by a timer. It will open exactly 25 seconds after ejection from the test plane,” Wright says. “At an altitude of 10,000 ft above the ground, you will be fired straight up at 100 ft/sec. Your chute will open no less than 500 ft above ground, which is just high enough to deploy and slow your descent for a safe landing.”

Wright sees Buzzard’s daredevil aura fading, so he opens a briefcase and shows him the crisp Ben Franklins waiting to go home with him.

“Now if I could just have your signature on this release form,” Wright says handing over a pen. “Oh, and who might we contact in case of...uh, um...emergency?” Not paying any attention, the pilot signs his name and climbs aboard the plane. Should Buzzard be concerned about his landing or deciding how to blow ten grand?

Solution to problem 238, August, 2000: Math quiz

Winners circle

Fun problem 237: Fish bait July, 2000
Total entries: 60
Number correct: 38 (63%)
Winner: Sol Rochman, San Diego, CA Sol’s prize: Maple 6, a fully integrated analytical computation system.

Maple 6 combines the intelligence of Waterloo Maple’s symbolic computation algorithms with the reliability, accuracy, and power of the NAG numerical solver. Its math engine lets you define, solve, modify, optimize, and explore the mathematics or data in technical projects. This includes modeling and simulation, theoretical analysis, engineering design, and scientific application development.

Puzzle us

Get your creative juices flowing and send us your original problems and solutions. If we publish yours, you’ll win a prize. David Hall, of Carlsbad, California wins a WD-40 prize pack for contributing this month’s problem.

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Fun With Fundamentals: Problem 238

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