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Galileo rotates...
This weeks 'Agents of SHIELD' - was going great (though the biology was iffy, but comic book!) until...

Look, fellas, "Ye canna change the laws of physics - or the rate at which you fall or, you know, terminal velocity."

(Not to mention our hero running past a f*cking flying car to fling himself out of the plane.)

So it's spoilery. Right now I don't really care.

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The falling part wasn't such an issue: terminal velocity isn't a constant but the point at which the force of gravity acting on a body is balanced out by the air resistance acting in the opposite direction. The air resistance can be modified quite substantially by the surface area presented. So Ward's head down, hands by the sides position would be quite a bit faster than Gemma's flaily one, though I would have to do some good maths to work out whether or not there would be time, because Gemma is small and in fitted clothes, so she represents a small surface area.

However, what they haven't catered for is the horizontal distance. The plane kept going once Gemma jumped out, so the point at which Ward jumped out was at least 60 seconds later and therefore up to 15km further along their flight path, going off a 747's speed of 250m/s. The likelihood of Ward being able to see Gemma falling at some point 15km in their wake, while he is rushing through air without goggles (you always wear goggles when skydiving!) is infinitesimal.

But whats-her-face wasn't trying to reduce her air resistance, and you can't reduce the speed at which you reach terminal velocity (which for her would probably be between 20 and 45 seconds, given that 25 is pretty much the average for a human) without some sort of wide surface, so she would almost certainly have been at terminal velocity before or just after the other idiot jumped out of the jet.

If she was at terminal velocity -- and she almost certainly was -- he wouldn't be able to catch her no matter what he did!

Edited at 2013-11-10 08:45 am (UTC)

On this one, if it were the only factor, it's not such an issue, because her terminal velocity as a flat object is likely to be the standard freefall 120-130mph, whereas his, as an optimised streamlined object with a smaller surface area (his head and shoulders) would be more at the dive position speed skydiving end of things, up to 180mph.

Of course, with a generous 60mph difference, having Ward at his fastest and Gemma at her slowest, the plane would need to have been travelling at an unusually high level for him to have time to make it. Assuming the standard 35,000 feet, essentially 6 miles, it would have taken her roughly 3 minutes to fall into the sea, and him roughly two. Given the at least sixty second difference in the times they left the plane, he would catch her in time for them to hit the water together.

Let us not factor in the unlikelihood of him getting into a parachute harness in freefall …

If they had been six miles up neither of them would have been able to breathe with the bay doors open or in flight.

Excellent point! I would have hoped that given they have stinted on the writers, they might at least have spent up on the mathematicians. But no, all the cash going into hair product. Again. Why, Hollywood, why?

Come on, you know the answer...

"Money, money, money..."

I am still not sure about the appearance of four fave characters (Iron Fist/Danny Rand, Luke Cage/Power Man, Jessica Jones/Jewel and Dardevil/Matt Murdock) in a grouped set of short series made by Netflix. (My only real hope for these is that Brian Bendis seems to be deeply involved.)

Your other point is well taken.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that gravity doesn't work that way.

I think you can change your posture in the air to speed up slightly, but I really don't think it would be that much. Simmons was a splat in the ocean long before he even spotted her. And another thing - an hour out from Morocco in the open ocean? Someone must have a tracker device in their clothing or they'd never be found.

Which is a pity, because of the people I'd like to fall out of the plane and never be found, those two were top of the list!

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