|MadSci Network: Physics|
Hi, That's an interesting question. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to calculate the lift of a ski jumper. Bernoulli's equation, as you found out, is useful only if you know the air velocity everywhere. The problem is that it's not easy to calculate the air velocity everywhere. Aeronautical engineers get around this problem by directly measuring the air speed and pressure in a wind tunnel. It's also possible to determine these values using sophisticated computer simulations, but that's not easy either. However, I can help with some of the other variables. You can roughly estimate the area by simply multiplying the width times the height of a typical ski jumper. The air density is a measured value that's available in most reference books. It varies with temperature and altitude, but it's about 1.2 kg/m3 at sea level. Madhu - blog
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