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    June 4, 2013


    Some of the action pieces displayed in Fast 6 beg many questions and doubts that could put any known scientific theory hanging on a thread. It continues where Fast 5 left us two years ago – how is it possible that two cars dragging a tonne of steel vault across the streets of Rio de Janeiro? Well, let us not be judgemental! The latest Justin Lin’s offering is still a fun and decent movie even when science is put inside the bin, something that Hollywood would prefer to do. Recently, many experts began to determine exactly how long is the runway where the final and third act of the movie sets. Vulture says that the length of the runway at the NATO base in Lusitania, Spain to be 28.829 miles (46.4 km). Empire Online estimates it at 27.86 miles (44.8 km).


    Green Tea Movie has a different set of opinion. I took two stopwatches into the movie, bought a relatively empty row in the cinema and start timing when Dom and his gang start to chase down Shaw. On the first stopwatch, I clock the whole third act to be 12 minutes 28 seconds.

    In calculating the length of the runway, here are some assumptions that I have made:
    1. Even when the third act totals up to 12:28 min, do consider the split scenes where everyone has different point-of-view. Two or more scenes could be happening at the same time. Therefore, I only take Dominic’s point-of-views to estimate the actual time – hence the need for second stopwatch.
    2. Any changes in the velocity throughout the act happen in both constant acceleration and constant deceleration.
    3. The length is calculated through simple calculus and physic model – that’s the area under the graph of velocity versus time.
    4. Dom drives the Dodge Charger SRT-8, maximum speed up to 240 kph if full-force pedal depression occurs.
    5. Clock is started when they are in the proper runway, not anything prior to that. You can see that the runway start when the gang made a 90 degree turn to their left pass a few aircraft at the runway's end.


    I split the whole third act into several components. I used the second stopwatches and try to ensure my timing is up to precision (Shaw’s code of work): I have to lap the timer, pause when Dominic’s scene is off for other character’s point-of-view. Of course, I consider Dom to be extremely busy and will have to run everywhere to kick the big guy and Shaw’s asses on the plane.

    Events and remarks Time clocked for Dom's POV (Time lap) Actual time for the scene
    Dom and the gang make their way onto the runway. Their speed according to Dwayne Johnson’s interview with Daily Mail at about 115 mph (185.075 kph) – that is almost the top speed for the Dodge Charger.

    0 - 0:18.77 (18.77 s)
    0 - 0:19
    The cargo plane identified as the Antonov-124 is approaching at the speed of 145 mph but later taxiing on the runway at the same speed as the cars to allow Shaw’s gang to get into the cargo haul and escape.

    0:18.77 - 1:37.14
    (78.37 s)
    0:20 - 1:38
    Dom drives his car into the cargo haul. Han & Gisele and Tej & Roman begin to tether the plane to their vehicles. Dom and Brian begin kicking ass. Everyone is busy with their works now. The plane, from 115 mph is now picking up speed again, slowly, too slow maybe! (120 mph)

    1:37.14 - 1:49.64
    (12.50 s)
    1:38 - 2:51
    The pilot is ordered to take off but have yet to reach the take-off speed. The minimum take-off speed for Antonov-124 is 165 mph. At this point, the speed of the vehicles our heroes in depends on the speed of the plane, assumed to be above 115 mph but below the minimum take-off speed. Everyone is busy kicking ass.

    1:49.64 - 2:53.18
    (63.54 s)
    2:51 - 6:35
    The plane is struggling to take-off, already flying at an altitude of feets above but is held down by the weight of the cars. Due to weight factor, the speed is held down at 165 mph only, merely enough to take-off. Brian and Mia arrive to give the final tether

    2:53.18 - 4:47.79
    (114.61 s)
    6:35 - 11:45
    The plane finally gives way, crashes and decelerates to halt. Good guys win!

    4:47.79 - 5:31.90
    (44.11 s)
    11:45 - 12:28


    Using the Matlab(R) program, I managed to plot the velocity versus Dominic's focus time in seconds.

    12.29 miles (19.7 km)

    While this figure of my own is relatively lower than the estimates made by Vulture and Empire Online, the length calculated still does not make any sense. 12.29 miles is relatively more than 3 times longer than the the world's longest paved runway in Qamdo Bamda at 5.5 km and 1.5 times longer than Edwards Air force Base in California. Ridiculous? I have not made my point about Roman, Dom and Letty flying like a superman.

    In conclusion, the discrepancies between my value and their values could be due to:
    1. The time. Vulture and Empire Online interest only on the total screen time, and not the actual time any particular character's. Like I have said, Dom's screen time is the most and any camera cut to focus other characters is ignored.
    2. The velocity of the plane. This minimum take-off speed of 165 mph is considered since the plane is evidently struggling. The minimum take-off does not dictate that it should always take-off at this speed but more to inform you the minimum speed for it to airborne. Planes tend to go beyond this velocity when they take-off.
    3. A matter of precision.

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