# The Great Debate

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**1****The Great Debate**

This has inspired quite a bit of debate on our local board, so I thought I'd copy it over.

I'm with the Pilots on this one, I believe the plane will take off every time.

Originally Posted by

**Abneriel**I've been on MW where a question was posted (months ago) that has been brought back up...here's the question:

most of the people on there (including some pilots) are saying that yes the plane will fly, but myself and a few other "idiots" are saying that it will not. The people saying that it will fly are arguing that the plane's thrust causes the forward motion, not the wheels...(which is true). My argument has nothing to do with what causes thrust or movement, but how the question is phrased and how it makes it impossible for the plane to take off. Here was my equation:

can anyone shed any further light on this? I'm terrible at math, but after reading it over a few times it still makes sense to me...

what do you guys think? anything I'm overlooking?

Imagine a plane is sat on the beginning of a massive conveyor belt/travelator type arrangement, as wide and as long as a runway, and intends to take off. The conveyor belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels at any given time, moving in the opposite direction of rotation.

There is no wind.

Can the plane take off?

There is no wind.

Can the plane take off?

you guys are forgetting the key to the equation...the WHEEL speed and the BELT speed always exactly match.

in a real situation, the plane would move forward, but the wheel speed would have to be going whatever the plane speed is + the belt speed. This is not the question the original poster presented.

A= plane speed

B= wheel speed (rotation)

C= belt speed

if A = 300 mph and C = 300 mph (in the opposite direction) then B must= 600 mph (rotation)

600 mph does not = 300 mph

in order to get B to equal C, A must be at a stop.

in other words

if A = 0 mph and C = 300 mph, then B must also = 300 mph

here we see that B and C are equal, which is what the original poster placed as the constant in the equation.

to get B to = C, A must be at 0, which in this case A = the plane, which = no flight

in a real situation, the plane would move forward, but the wheel speed would have to be going whatever the plane speed is + the belt speed. This is not the question the original poster presented.

A= plane speed

B= wheel speed (rotation)

C= belt speed

if A = 300 mph and C = 300 mph (in the opposite direction) then B must= 600 mph (rotation)

600 mph does not = 300 mph

in order to get B to equal C, A must be at a stop.

in other words

if A = 0 mph and C = 300 mph, then B must also = 300 mph

here we see that B and C are equal, which is what the original poster placed as the constant in the equation.

to get B to = C, A must be at 0, which in this case A = the plane, which = no flight

what do you guys think? anything I'm overlooking?

I'm with the Pilots on this one, I believe the plane will take off every time.

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**3**11 Second Club

Join Date: Aug 2005

Location: Tampa, FL

Posts: 742

In aeronautics(sp?) what causes a plane to fly is lift (aka wind/airspeed underneath the wings). So if there is no airspeed the plane will not take off.

-Mark

-Mark

*Last edited by Bitemark46; 04-14-2006 at 11:10 AM.*

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**4**11 Second Club

Join Date: Aug 2005

Location: Tampa, FL

Posts: 742

Originally Posted by

**04 Terminator**Somebody put a wind up plane ( the one with the rubber band) on a treadmill going full speed and the plane flew off the end of the treadmill like it was nothing.

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**7**11 Second Club

Join Date: Aug 2005

Location: Tampa, FL

Posts: 742

Originally Posted by

**Wnt2Go10o**if this goes on for more than 2 pages, i feel sorry for all who think the plane wont take off.

No airspeed = no lift = a grounded aircraft

It isn't rocket science. -Mark

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**8**Guest

Posts: n/a

Originally Posted by

**Bitemark46**Oh really? Then explain on how the plane will generate airspeed when the plane itself is not moving only the wheels.

No airspeed = no lift = a grounded aircraft

It isn't rocket science. -Mark

No airspeed = no lift = a grounded aircraft

It isn't rocket science. -Mark

*not*powered there for the only result would be a false ground speed reading. air speed wouldnt change and the plane would take off.

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**9**
Originally Posted by

**Wnt2Go10o**because the riddle starts with the conveyor belt matching the speed of the wheels in the opposite direction. wheels are

*not*powered there for the only result would be a false ground speed reading. air speed wouldnt change and the plane would take off.Thrust from a jet or pull from the prop is what moves a plane. It is irrelivant what the speed of the tires are so long as the plane is moving forward. In this scenerio which "is" different than the original post (but doesn't change the result) the plane will take off. Even if the conveyor moved in reverse as fast as the plane goes (which would keep the wheels stationary) the plane would lift do to drag on the top of the wings. Wheel speed has nothing to do with a plane taking off other that allowing the plane to move freely as the thrust or prop moves the plane.

A plane is capable of taking off from water where the plane doesn't even use wheels anyway.