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Superhero physics: Batman cape-glide likely fatal

Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from "Batman Begins."

WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES/WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Holy crash landing Batman! The crime-fighting caped crusader could fly but if he did, he would smash into the ground and probably die, a group of British physics students have calculated.

Dashing the dreams of comic fans across the world, four students from the University of Leicester said that while Batman could glide using his cape as he does in the 2005 film Batman Begins, his landing would almost certainly prove fatal.

The superhero is back in cinemas later this month in The Dark Knight Rises and they suggested Batman should go shopping before trying a similar attempt to become airborne over Gotham City.

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"If Batman wanted to survive the flight, he would definitely need a bigger cape," said David Marshall, 22, one of the students in the final year of their four-year Master of Physics degree.

"Or if he preferred to keep his style intact he could opt for using active propulsion, such as jets to keep himself aloft."

In a paper titled "Trajectory of a falling Batman," the group argued that if he jumped from a 150-metre high building, the 4.7 metre (15-foot) wingspan of Batman's cape would allow him to glide 350 metres.

However, he would reach a speed of 109 kilometers an hour before hitting the ground at a life-threatening speed of 80 km/h.

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