Galileo Day

Ian Goddard (
Tue, 16 Feb 1999 23:46:08 -0500

If horizontal velocity translates into vertical velocity such that it will allow an object to fall faster than an object dropped in a vacuum, as some here suggest, then why did the wing from PAN AM 103 (which didn't shoot upwards and thus fell with all its horizontal velocity) not fall faster than the rate of fall from zero velocity in a vacuum?

The wing from PAN AM 103 fell from 31,000 to 0 in around 46.5 seconds, yet an object dropped from 31,000 would fall 34,750 feet in that same time period in a vacuum. What gives? Why didn't the much-touted translation work?


The wing has the most aerodynamically favorable shape of just about any part of the plane, so it had everything in its favor. So, why didn't it fall faster? This nulls the argument against my initial post, for there's no reason to believe Galileoian law would be bypassed by horizontal velocity.