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The Human Catapult: Every BASE Jumper’s Dream

Written by Michael Cook

Legendary air enthusiasts Chris “Douggs” McDougall and Jimmy Pouchert take their vision of human flight to the next level by catapulting themselves 300 feet into the hot, dry Dubai skyline via slingshot. At times, Douggs and Jimmy take on over 6G’s as they are launched into the air, going from 0-200 kph in one second. Given Dubai is no stranger to elaborate air stunts, constructing the catapult in this majestic desert location seemed the perfect place.

In collaboration with Go Fast Sports, Skydive Dubai, and Apex BASE, the engineering team for this project based their design on a blueprint from none other than Leonardo Da Vinci, adapting it to create a modern-day human slingshot. Two cranes standing erect into the air are rigged to cables and a pulley system. The cables are attached to a sled locked to the ground with a carabiner on one end and to 50,000 lbs of steel plate suspended above the ground on the other, waiting to for gravity to do its work. As Jimmy gets into place on the sled – made from a sea kayak – the intensity of what’s about to happen starts to set in. It’s very clear that when the sled gets released, nothing is going to stop the massive plates from plummeting. As Jimmy rests in place, we hear the assistant yell, “Safety’s off,” and begin counting down, “3, 2, 1…” Everything that follows next is magical!

 

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