Captain America Civil War Physics Question (spoilers)

In summary, Captain America could probably drop a helicopter by pushing with more than his own weight.
  • #1
Hello everyone, a question has popped up in my mind after watching the the new Captain America movie recently in theaters, obviously the prerequisite to answering it requires you to have watched the movie and so, even though it's nothing major, I'll leave an extra spoiler warning here just in case.
My question is wether or not Captain America could really pull the helicopter downwards without holding holding on to anything as he did in the movie, equivalently, could I exert a downwards force while in midair greater than my own weight. Now I'm not asking wether or not he could really exert such a force, but if in principle it is possible.
Sorry for my bad english.

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  • #2
You can pull harder than your weight - you just move up a bit.
Newton's 3rd Law.

You can analyse this by free body diagram to get the relationship between the copter and cap's acceleration.
  • #3
Captain would move up, then by Newtons 3rd law the heli would accelerate downwards acoordingly?
  • #4
Yep - you can probably work it out by free body diagrams.
The effect is a bit like you have someone on skates on ice trying to pull a heavy ice sled towards them by a rope.
You are probably more used to that situation from physics class.

If Cap gives enough impulse to drop the copter say 3-4m to the ground in less than a second, he would shoot into the sky.
I gather that didn't happen ... so your instincts were good: it was a cartoon move: what Disney called a "plausible impossibility".
  • #5
If I remember correctly - didn't Cap hook his other arm onto a rail attached to the building in the film? An anchor like that would be helpful. With the Super Soldier Formula, all things are possible. If he can survive decades frozen in ice, surely he can toss around a mere helicopter. :)
  • #6
He difinatly did hook his hand on the building, but that was after his initial jump and bringing the heli down to the required hight if I'm not mistaken.
  • #7
Not seen the movie.
If his jump was higher than the helecopter skid(?), and it was hovering, then it is plausible that the sudden appearance of his weight on a finely balanced system could cause the copter to drop a bit before the pilot could correct. The extra impulse comes from his momentum when he hits. I think it's quite hard to shove a helecopter around though.

Helecopters can usually wrench a handrail away from it's supports ... so what sort of rail?

Mond you - these superheroes have magic properties that appear and vanish whenever the plot calls for it.
  • #8

This is the scene in question I think.
  • #9
Maybe Bucky didn't floor it right away because deep down he didn't want to injure his friend?

1. How realistic is the physics in the scene where Captain America and Iron Man are fighting?

The physics in the fight scenes between Captain America and Iron Man are not entirely realistic. While the characters' movements and actions may seem plausible, the amount of force and impact they generate is exaggerated for dramatic effect.

2. Is the concept of the "super soldier serum" scientifically possible?

There is currently no scientific evidence to support the concept of a "super soldier serum" that can enhance a person's physical abilities to the level of Captain America. While there have been attempts to create performance-enhancing drugs, they often come with dangerous side effects and do not produce the same results as depicted in the movie.

3. How accurate is the portrayal of Tony Stark's "Iron Man" suit in terms of physics?

The Iron Man suit is a work of fiction and includes many elements that are not scientifically possible. For example, the suit's ability to fly and hover without any propulsion system is not feasible according to our current understanding of physics. However, the movie does incorporate some realistic concepts, such as the suit's use of thrusters for propulsion and stabilizers for balance.

4. Could the airport battle scene really happen with the weight of the planes and debris?

In reality, the weight of the planes and debris in the airport battle scene would cause significant damage and destruction, making it unlikely for the characters to continue fighting without being seriously injured. Additionally, the amount of force generated by the characters' attacks would likely cause more damage to the surrounding environment and structures.

5. How accurate is the portrayal of the "Sokovia Accords" and the role of the United Nations in the movie?

The Sokovia Accords and the role of the United Nations in the movie are fictional and do not reflect actual international laws or policies. While there are international organizations that deal with matters of global security, the actions and decisions made in the movie do not align with their protocols and procedures.

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