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Could that actually happen? The bus jump from Speed

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Published on Mar 19, 2007

Transcript: http://www.davidcolarusso.com/blog/?p...

The Tabletop Explainer is an intermittent educational vlog presenting answers to viewer questions, brief science lessons, and ideas for teachers and students. It is a feature of my blog "Tilts at Windmils" which can be found at http://www.davidcolarusso.com/blog/

Comments • 77

Espen Hæhre
Would the buss also jump if the hole wasn't there? Or do you reckon the buss to be a selfaware and conscious entity preserving itself in the face of danger and trying to keep the film audience happy?
darockk
in the 20th anniversary blu ray release, George Lucas has altered the bus's speedometer show to 100 miles/ hour and also added in some CGI ramps to make the scene more plausible.
Mary Ross
And wouldn't the bomb be impacted when the bus hit the pavement?
Idahofox
Late to comment, but perhaps worth pointing out, still. The movie does acknowledge the issue of angle, albeit in passing, in the dialog. As Jack is deciding what to do and he tells her to floor it, he says "It's an interchange, there might be an incline! Floor it!". If there had been a scene showing a stack of plywood coming loose and slumping over to make a ramp prior to the last-moments view of the road before the jump, I think the scene could have been brought back to the realm of plausibility for some viewers, since the crew itself underestimated the flight and took out a camera during the shoot. 30-foot city bus and a 50-foot gap. At 60mph, it would be doing about 90 feet per second, thus able to cross three times its own length in just a single second. If the receiving end of the gap is below the starting point, as possibly interpreted from the footage as a secondary notion to the setup, it could be doable as well, also requiring less of a takeoff setup and allows Jack's comment to hold water in both setup possibilities. But having the bus's back end just barely make the jump does help in the believability department a little.
Matt DeKok
Based on my understanding of your formula: If I punch in the numbers exactly as given (9.81 m/s^2 for gravity, 50 feet for range, and 50 mph for velocity) I get 5.6 degrees as you say. But shouldn't you convert the units to (32.19 ft/s^2 for gravity, 50 feet for range, and 73.33 ft/s for velocity)? Doing so, I get 8.71 degrees. https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=arcsin%28%2832.19+*+50%29+%2F+%2873.33+%5E+2%29%29+%2F+2+to+degrees Given peoples' estimates of 100 ft range, the incline should be 18.4 degrees (20-25 to factor for air resistance and other factors) https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=arcsin%28%2832.19+*+100%29+%2F+%2873.33+%5E+2%29%29+%2F+2+to+degrees However, even at 100ft for range, if they increased their speed to 70 mph or 102.7 ft/s, then the incline only needs to be 8.89 degrees https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=arcsin%28%2832.19+*+100%29+%2F+%28102.7+%5E+2%29%29+%2F+2+to+degrees
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trwent
The bus kind of does a wheelie right as it is starting the jump.  I always thought that maybe they got it to do this by hitting only the rear brakes at the last moment.  But on a bus, I don't see how you could apply only the rear brakes--I think that all the brakes would engage once you hit the brake pedal.
Amine SMIDI
assuming a flat Earth with a uniform gravity field, and no air resistance, a projectile launched with specific initial conditions will have a predictable range. g: the gravitational acceleration near the Earth's surface θ: the angle at which the projectile is launched v: the velocity at which the projectile is launched d: the total horizontal distance travelled by the projectile When neglecting air resistance, the range of a projectile will be d = (v²sin2θ ) / g 
Eddie Atonga
Mythbusters tried this.
linabearr _
But in cases like mine where you have to complete an ERT on 'Physics in Hollywood'. These 4 minutes are of great assistance. 
tartredarrow
IIRC, they actually jumped a real bus with a driver in a suspension harness for the shot. The bus actually jumped higher than they thought it would, which is why the bus goes out of frame for all the angles.
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