What Does Free Fall Mean?
Free fall is the term that is used to describe a falling object that only has gravity acting upon it. Free falling objects accelerate at a rate of 9.8 m/s/s.
In regards to occupational health and safety, free fall usually refers to any person or object falling through air without some form of resistance, such as a restraint, parachute, or lifting device.
Safeopedia Explains Free Fall
Free fall, in terms of Newtonian physics, applies to any object where gravity is the only force acting upon it, including those that may be moving upwards. A free falling object will not be subject to air resistance, and because all objects fall at the same rate when gravity is the only force acting upon them, they are in a state of weightlessness. The physics equation used to explain "free fall" is Newton's 2nd law of motion, which states:
Force(net) = mass x acceleration
The term "free fall", however, is often used more generally than in the strict physics definition. Free fall can often refer to anything falling through an atmosphere without a deployed parachute, air resistance, or lifting device.