A Plane on a Massive Conveyor Belt

I first heard about this several months ago. BoingBoing just brought it up again:

From www.boingboing.net:

Imagine a plane is sitting on a massive conveyor belt, as wide and as long as a runway. The conveyer [sic] belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels, moving in the opposite direction. Can the plane take off?

I know the answer, do you? (without cheating)

6 Replies to “A Plane on a Massive Conveyor Belt”

  1. The plane would crash in a fiery mess killing everyone on board.

    Planes fly based on aerodynamic effects having little to do with wheel speed. Unfortunately in the transition from driving down the converyor belt to flying through the air, the tires would encounter an overpseed condition well beyond their design margins. The tires burst while the airspeed is insufficient to generate the required lift causing the aircraft to lose control and ground loop (Very very bad).

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