P4_10 Free Willy!

Jason Smith, Nick Brewster, Nathan Adams, Tendayi Kerr


In the closing scenes of the 1993 movie ‘Free Willy’, Jesse saves his whale friend Willy from captivity by successfully encouraging him to jump over a marina wall. This paper explores the feasibility of this scene by considering the maximum jumping capabilities of an orca whale, and the physical dimensions of the marina wall in question. The height of the marina wall with Jesse on top was found to be 3.96 m and the width of the marina wall 8.12 m across. It was found that Willy would have the capabilities of clearing the marina wall if he approached the wall with a jump angle of 50Ëš. A jump angle of 45Ëš put Willy at risk of striking both Jesse and the marina wall.

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