• Even in a sport like speed-skydiving, there are those for whom terminal velocity is just not fast enough. Join Wild Chronicles as one thrill-seeker takes to the skies to learn how to satisfy his need for speed from a bird whose top speed puts humans to shame—the peregrine falcon.

    1. How fast is the fall of a typical skydiver?

      A normal skydiver in free-fall hits a speed of about 120 miles per hour (mph).

    2. What materials are used in the lures the falconer, Franklin, makes to train his falcons?

      Franklin uses small cotton bags filled with lead, and topped with a piece of meat.

    3. How long does it take the peregrine falcon, Frightful, to catch the lure?

      It takes Frightful only 43 seconds to capture the lure.

    4. What was Frightful's top speed?

      Frightful was clocked at diving 242 mph.

    5. Speed-skydivers adapt their clothing to emulate the peregrine falcon in free-fall. What clothes are designed to mimic the bird's feathers?

      The skydiver's pants expand near the ankle, allowing him much greater control in free-fall.

    6. What was the top speed of Mark, the skydiver?

      Mark has hit speeds of just over 300 mph.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    extreme sport Noun

    non-traditional athletics that are often considered dangerous.

    skydive Verb

    to jump from an airplane in flight and freefall until releasing a parachute.

    sport Noun

    athletic activity.

    terminal velocity Noun

    maximum constant speed at which a falling body moves, achieved when the force of resistance to the medium (drag) is equal to the force of gravity.

    velocity Noun

    measurement of the rate and direction of change in the position of an object.