How Do Human Cannonballs Fly?
Human cannonballs are shot into space, catapulted with the help of compressed air, accompanied with a loud bang, flash and smoke supplied by fire crackers which makes us believe that cannon was fired.
The cannonball run is more or less equal to the girl who is cut into two by a knife in a magic trick. The danger of a mishap is there but hours of practice have made the trick perfect.
Today, those who do the trick prefer to use compressed air to propel the human cannonball. The ‘cannonball’ climbs into the cannon. Inside the cannon, at the bottom, is a cylinder holding compressed air.
When compressed air is released, the cylinder moves forward, propelled like a bullet that stops just short of the mouth of the cannon. The ‘ball’ is shot forward due to the momentum of the cylinder and lands about 100 feet away on to a net.
This is an extremely dangerous sport and like any other risky action venture, it has a high accident rate. Though the distance that the human cannon is estimated to travel is measured and a net is tied across, sometimes the ‘ball’ does overshoot or fall short due to human error.
The first human cannonball was a woman called Zazel who performed this trick on April 2, 1877 in London. Zazel used hidden coils of springs and enthralled the audience. The released springs propelled the ‘ball’ in the same principle that works with the pogo stick.