General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Before flight, be it by balloon or winged craft, is there any record of someone being flung some distance?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10277points) June 28th, 2010

It occurred to me that since arrows, and other projectiles have been around for thousands of years maybe some strategist might have conceived to fling some bad ass warrior over a wall, or for that matter maybe if sending someone flying was a bad idea did they ever “super man” a criminal?

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11 Answers

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

I just recently watched a MythBusters episode about the myth of immigrants being flung over the border walls into the US, using a slingshot method. They determined that any human body being flung like that, for a certain distance, would not live. So I would say… if it was done, many years ago.. the person who flung themselves, didn’t live to tell the tale.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Don’t know about any criminals. While they were building their ramp, the Romans at Masada tossed captured Jews against the walls of the fortress as a means of pscyhological/biological warfare.

YARNLADY's avatar

There are entertainers in the circus who get shot out of cannons. It’s probably just an illusion, but I’m not sure.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@YARNLADY Human cannon doesn’t use gunpowder or any sort of explosion, like real cannon fire. (they just use fake fuses & puffs of smoke to give the illusion that they lit the cannon’s gunpowder, along with the ‘bang’ sound effect)

Here is a diagram that resembles what is inside the human cannon barrel.

Instead of sitting, the human cannonball would just stand upright on the seat & would be propelled out.

Buttonstc's avatar

There have been several recorded incidents in ancient times of the tactic of catapulting dead bodies over castle walls to drive out the enemy.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Buttonstc they didn’t always wait for the bodies to die before loading them into the seige engines.

jaytkay's avatar

Random thoughts…

Wikipedia The current world record for the farthest human cannonball flight is 185 ft 10 in (56.64 m)...It is estimated Smith was traveling at over 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) during the flight.

There is a cool picture here of the record holder’s son in flight

Forget the net or airbag, if I were going for the record, I would aim for a lake.

YARNLADY's avatar

Would before winged craft also mean before the Chinese invented the kite, and apparently hang gliding. They also had early forms of paper parachutes.

What about the hanging rope the people can hang on to and then swing back and forth until they let go and fly through the air (yes, Tarzan style)

Ltryptophan's avatar

The gist of the question is who was the first living culture to shoot people over a hundred yards. Is that what you should have gathered from the way I asked…no. Is that what I kinda want to know…yes.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

A legendary (or apocryphal? note the lack of source material) 16C Chinese space flight attempt.

Buttonstc's avatar

I guess “Dwarf-Tossing” wouldn’t count either then?


(with sincere apologies to LPA)

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