Writing Research: How High Should a Pegasus Fly to Escape Arrows?

Blood and Water copyMy latest novelette starts with the (currently unnamed) protagonist shooting a Pegasus while in flight. Now, if a Pegasus was used in battle, they would fly at a height that arrows couldn’t reach. Good thing that my protagonist has a magic bow with magic arrows that aren’t affected by gravity. But still, what height would that put the Pegasus to escape normal arrows?

So, I did some research and dusted up on my physics. Turns out that googling “how far can a medieval arrow shoot” is not a simple answer. There’s absolute distance vs how far an arrow can go and still punch through armor vs how well a person can aim. Wikipedia says that it’s been suggested that English longbows could reach up to 370 meters, and since that is the biggest number I’ve seen for archery, I decided to use it in my calculations, since riders would want to have a safety buffer.

Assuming a 45 degree angle and no air resistance, this calculates to an initial velocity of 60.2 m/s. It takes 8.7 seconds for it to fly the 370 meters, reaching a top height of 92.5 meters. If the arrow was instead fired straight up, it would fly 169 meters high (554 feet). Of course, its penetrating ability that high would be nil, but it’s a good boundary to know.

This does lead to some interesting thoughts about tactics used by and against Pegasus riders during battle. But that’s for another story.


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