But what do I know? I'm just a twice clicken brown shirt teabaggin tjroll. Right? --PatP

Not now. There are dirty, swaying men at my door. They’re looking for Brian. I need to go deal with that. --Thor

If Joss Wedon was near me, I'd of kicked his ass. --PaulC

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Airplane On a Treadmill

I saw this over on PaulC’s blog in his post on Hungarian notation. I read the blog and thought I understood the problem. Then Mythbusters did it. The plane couldn’t take off, even with a running start. Somebody explain this to me, as I clearly don’t understand what I thought I understood.

I thought that the plane would take off because it’s not being propelled by the wheels and that running the treadmill under it would simply make the wheels turn faster while the plane maintained speed and would achieve lift. Apparently, that is not the case.


  1. the plane will take off.
    mythbusters issue was a logistics problem.
    look, the WHEELS dont propel the plane, the PROPELLER does. Is the propeller spinning fast enough to move the plane? Then it will take off. There is no need for the wheels to turn at any particular speed.

  2. That's what I thought. So what happened on Mythbusters? I'll have to go watch it I guess.

    I guy I work with said that even with the plane moving when it hit the "treadmill", there was enough resistance created somehow that the plane stopped dead.

    I'll just have to watch it and see how they explain why their plane won't take off when a hypothetical plane ought to.

  3. The guy at work is wrong.
    if the treadmill is NOT flat (ie high resistance) then the wheels will get stuck and pull the plane backwards, thus requiring more prop thrust to move the plane forward.

  4. And that's what happened on Mythbusters?

  5. been too long since I saw that episode, I should go to hulu and watch it again.
    Eventually it took off, but they had some logistics problems at first.