Experiments

Balloon/Child Fly

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Ping-Pong Rescue"
Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Hand a tiny tot a helium-filled fairground balloon, and what are the chances the buoyant bubble will lift the lucky kid off the ground? Slim to none. But MythBusters Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Scottie Chapman decided to see whether a bunch of balloons — a really big bunch of balloons — could indeed airlift a child.

They chose Maddie, the 44-pound daughter of a MythBusters crew member, as their target cargo, and then started calculating how many balloons they'd have to blow up. The MythBusters ran the numbers and determined that a whopping 2,070 balloons, tied together into 250 child-lifting columns, could give Maddie wings. Yet taking into account gravity's downward pull inflated the necessary number of balloons to around 3,500. After finally filling up the last one, the bulging bunch of balloons boosted Maddie into the air.

But considering the mindboggling amount of balloons required, the MythBusters popped the fairground myth and declared it busted.

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