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Department of Physics, Lund university

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Free fall and other drop towers

In the Free Fall and Turbo Drop rides, you move slowly to the top, wait there for a while enjoying the view. In Free Fall rides, you fall freely, experiencing weightlessness (zero g) for something like 3s and then brake smoothly through magnetic brakes (observe the braking swords mounted on the tower - the also reduced the speed somewhat on the way up). In the Turbo Drop, you are instead accelerated down, faster than free fall, experiencing "negative g's" while it seems gravity is turned upside down for a moment. The braking happens on pressurised air. In the SpaceShot rides, the pressurised air also provides a rapid acceleration in the start.

Most of the pages below include accelerometer graphs.

If you feel brave at the top, you may consider how far you can see - e.g. is it possible to see from the top of AtmosFear (116 m) to the Lighthouse in Skagen, 80 km away and 46 m high? 

(Freemaptools allows you to draw a circle of given radius around a point. Pythagoras theorem lets you calculate the distance to the horizon from a high point.)

On special physics days, we have been allowed to bring a soft mug with a little water to the top of a drop tower.