Batman would probably die if he tried to land safely in real life, say scientists.
A research team of physicists from the University of Leicester recommend an urgent cape redesign to help the masked vigilante safely pursue his exploits in Gotham City.
On the big screen, the crime-fighter is able to glide from tall buildings using a cape spread out like wings – similar to the method used by base jumpers who leap from bridges, buildings and cliffs wearing winged suits.
But unlike these real-life daredevils, Batman does not have a parachute.
Given his current cape design, Batman could glide to a distance of about 350 metres if he were to jump from a building about 150 metres high, the group of four University of Leicester physics students found.
“The problem with the glide lies in his velocity as he reaches ground level. The velocity rises rapidly to a maximum of a little over 110 kilometres per hour,” News.com.au quoted the scientists as writing in the university’s Journal of Special Physics Topics.
“At these high speeds any impact would likely be fatal if not severely damaging” – the equivalent of being hit by a car at 80km/h.
Batman’s wingspan, at 4.7 metres, is about half that of a hang glider. The cape, which resembles a bat’s wings, allows him to glide over the streets and rooftops in his home city Gotham looking for bad guys.
The scientists concluded that the crusader get a bigger cape, pack a parachute, or use propulsion jets to keep himself aloft.
“Clearly gliding using a batcape is not a safe way to travel,” the group concluded, “unless a method to rapidly show down is used such as a parachute.”
They also suggested that “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” to crash into.