Movie Calculation: Speed Bus Jump
Background: In the 1994 thriller "Speed" a bomb is set to
detonate on a city bus if the bus ever
reduces its speed below 50 mph. At one point, the bus is traveling on a freeway overpass with
a large portion of the road missing. In an attempt to save the lives of all of the passengers, the
brave bus driver (Sandra Bullock) decides to speed the bus up in hopes that it will be able to
jump the 50 foot hole and land safely on the other side.
5 degree incline
Now let's give the moviemakers the benefit of the doubt and assume that the freeway was on a
slight incline of 5 degrees above the horizontal. Assume the bus was still traveling at a speed of
1. What is the y-component of the bus's initial velocity for this situation?
2. What is the x-component of the bus's initial velocity for this situation?
3. Watch the film clip, using a stopwatch to determine the time that the bus was in the air.
4. Use this time to determine the vertical (y) distance the bus would have fallen before
landing on the other side.
5. In this situation, would the bus have landed safely on the other side of the overpass?