Films

# Batman’s cape could fly, but landing would kill him

Physics students have calculated that Batman's method of using his cape to glide from tall buildings would result in him hitting the ground at life-threateningly high speeds.

In the films, The Caped Crusader wears a cape which becomes rigid when a current is passed through it, allowing him to glide over Gotham City.

Problematic say four MPhys students from the University of Leicester, who have published a paper claiming that although this method of gliding would be possible, Batman would be likely to suffer a fatal collision when he reached the ground.

Due to the high speeds he would be travelling, his impact with the ground would be equivalent to him being struck by a car travelling at 50 miles per hour.

David Marshall, Tom Hands, Ian Griffiths and Gareth Douglas found that the wingspan of Batman's cape - at 4.7 metres - is around half that used by a hang glider.

If Batman jumped from a building 150 metres high, he could glide a distance of around 350 metres - but the problem arises as Batman's velocity increases during his descent.

His velocity would initially rise to around 68 miles per hour, before reaching a steady 50 miles per hour as he gets down to ground level - a speed too fast for him to land safely.

The group concluded that DC Comics' superhero should consider taking a parachute with him if he wanted to stay in one piece.

David Marshall, 22, said: "If Batman wanted to survive the flight, he would definitely need a bigger cape. Or if he preferred to keep his style intact he could opt for using active propulsion, such as jets to keep himself aloft.

"If he really wanted to stick with tradition he could follow the method of Gary Connery, who recently became the first person to glide to the ground from a helicopter using only a wingsuit, although he only made it down safely using a large number of cardboard boxes."

The paper, entitled 'Trajectory of a falling Batman' was published in this year’s University of Leicester Journal of Special Physics Topics.

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