By vuviper 14 Comments
For many superspeeders we are never given a quantifiable measurement of their reaction time, but I think we can overcome this by looking at their speed feats.
(Defn: Reaction Time:=The time required to perceive a stimulus and respond)
(Assumption 1: Minimum reaction time for even the simplest tasks is .1 secondshttp://www.humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime/allresults.php)
(Assumption 2: Current records for travel speed represent a reasonable model for the upper limit of the speed acheivable with a reaction time of .1 seconds)
The flight speed record for a manned rocket in spave is Mach 30 (~10,000 m/s) (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19690029435_1969029435.pdf)
(Assumption 3: The maximum speed obtained in an environment is inversely proportional to the reaction time)
We can then construct a coefficient relating space travel speed(V) with reaction time(t), V*t= 1,000 m/s^2.
From this you could estimate that someone capable of traveling at light speed(2.998x10^8 m/s) from space would need a reaction time of 3.34 microseconds.
Obviously their are more obstacles one must react to during atmospheric travel than in space travel, therefore a new coefficient must be created.
The flight airspeed record is about 980 m/s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_airspeed_record#Timeline)
Our new coefficient is then V*t=98 m/s^2
Lets look at a light speed flyer again, to flight at light speed safely in the atmosphere, the necessary reaction time is .33 microseconds
Travel on land is the most dangerous as land is more densely crowded, to safely manuever one requires an even greater reaction time.
The land speed record is about 340 m/s, V*T=34 m/s^2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record)
Some places require better manueverability than others. The Nuerburgring is considered one of the most demanding race tracks and will be used for this first order approximation 40 m/s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nordschleife_lap_times_%28racing%29#1984_.28and_later.29_Combined_variants_.28VLN_.26_24h.29)
High maneuverability travel:
For Speedsters traveling in doors, in between people, while performing tasks, etc we will use another coefficient and estimate it using the human running speed record 10.4 m/s (Usain Bolt)
Yes the speed records used are not all analogous to the situations that the heroes find themselves in, but they are a good enough reference for a first approximation. Remember, this only tells you that the speedster has a reaction time that is at least that fast. Also, this is just an estimate to allow us some idea of reaction times in ABSENSE of any other information, in comic statements or feats always trump, comics don't make sense so they don't have to follow these rules.