Bridge Day 2012 Features New Catapult - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Bridge Day 2012 Features New Catapult

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FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) -- As if parachuting off an 876-foot-tall bridge wasn't scary and exciting enough, some thrill seekers will get to use a catapult during this year's Bridge Day in West Virginia.

Jason Bell owns the company that coordinates the annual BASE jumps off the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville.

A mechanical engineer, Bell and his company, Vertical Visions, designed and built the 2,500-pound steel catapult. It will be available to only a few dozen experienced parachutists Saturday. As of Friday, there were seven slots still available for $99.

Bell says the catapult will hurl parachutists 20 feet vertically and 50 feet horizontally from a steel chair.

An explanation of the catapult on the company website calls the launch "smooth, yet powerful."

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