The Darwin Award
Ran across this "award" for the most stupid act of the year, awarded posthumously. Supposed to be a true story. Sad, . . . . . . but it takes all kinds.
The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. Police investigators finally pieced together the sequence of events. An amateur rocket scientist had somehow gotten hold of a Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) unit, a solid-fuel rocket used by the Air Force to assist heavy cargo aircraft in take-offs from short runways. This "scientist" had driven his '67 Chevy Impala into the desert to a long straight stretch of highway to test some kind of theory, the nature of which is unknown at this time. He attached the JATO unit to his car, hit the gas, got up some speed, and fired off the JATO.
From the burn marks on the road, it was apparent that he fired the JATO approximately 4 miles from the site of the crash.
Now, considering that the JATO's full thrust would have been achieved in about 5 seconds, and would continue at full thrust for about 20-25 additional seconds, the Chevy's ground speed could be calculated at around a cool 350 mph. The driver (and soon-to-be pilot) would have experienced G-forces in the range of those encountered by F-14 fighter pilots in full afterburner mode. This would cause the actions of the driver of the Chevy to become virtually irrelevant for the remainder of the event.
The car apparently remained on the highway for the next 2.5 miles, with elapsed time of 15-20 seconds. Sometime during this phase the driver appeared to have hit his brake pedal (it could not be determined whether this was intentional or accidental), leaving thick rubber marks on the road as his brakes and tires melted and disintegrated.
Further investigation revealed that the Chevy became airborne at this point and remained in the air for an additional 1.4 miles. No further evidence was found of contact with the ground between this point and the cliff. The next evidence of the existence of this particular Impala was found embedded in the cliff at a height of 125 feet, in a blackened crater about 3 feet deep in said cliff.
The final police report concluded that the remains of the driver were unrecoverable, and calculated that this individual was successful in attaining a top ground speed of approximately 420 mph, although most of his voyage was probably not on the ground.
2003 Ford F-350 V-10 Crew Cab 4WD Long Bed
2004 Jayco Designer Medallion 29 RLTS 5th wheel
Bill, Gayle, and Mindi (dachshund)
Retired at last !
Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.