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Mythbusters

In April of 2004, I was contacted by Jim Newton, a researcher for the Discovery Channel show Mythbusters. They were going to investigate the myth of a construction worker using a sheet of plywood as a parachute after being blown off the roof of a building by a strong wind.

They needed a way to predict the aerodynamic lifting force on plywood for various angles of attack. So I worked up a spreadsheet that allowed them to change various parameters and predict the aero loads. I essentially "donated" it to the show because, well, I like the show! The myth appeared on the night of October 13th, 2004. If you watched the show, you saw the myth get busted.

It should be noted that their plywood guy was dropped vertically without any wind (the myth assumed a strong wind). In my mind, not using wind invalidated their approach, but hey, the show is mostly for entertainment purposes.