Batman could fly but would splat on landing, Leicester students show

Christian Bale portrays Batman in a scene from The Dark Knight Rises The students assessed the cape worn by Christian Bale in the Batman Begins film

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Batman could glide from tall buildings using his cape but would probably die from the impact of landing, physics students have demonstrated.

They used formulas to calculate how effective the 4.69m (15.4ft) wide cape used in Batman Begins would be.

The University of Leicester paper concludes that "clearly gliding using a batcape is not a safe way to travel".

But the four students, all Batman fans, said the superhero would be able to fly safely if he used a larger cape.

'A bit splattered'

David Marshall, one of the students, said: "We found he could fly quite well and he can actually fly pretty far.

"He can get about twice as far as he does fall, but once he gets there he is travelling about 50mph and that's a bit too fast to land safely.

"He would likely end up getting a bit splattered."

Batman gliding at a constant angle The research found Batman could glide around 350 metres if he jumped from a building 150 metres high

In Batman Begins the superhero uses a cape which becomes rigid when a current is passed through it.

The students' paper, called Trajectory of a Falling Batman, points out this method of gliding is similar to that used by base jumpers with wingsuits.

"If you increase the wingspan, once it gets towards the size of a glider it's going to start working," said Mr Marshall.

"With a few adaptations it would be fine.

"It's just how much you can stretch it past his arms."

The students - David Marshall, Tom Hands, Ian Griffiths and Gareth Douglas - got bonus marks for the paper which helped them get first-class and 2:1 degrees.

They will graduate on Thursday and all intend to do PhDs.

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