A plane equipped with fixed horizontal engines and wheel landing gear is placed on a huge treadmill runway. The treadmill has a clever design and always matches the speed of the plane, but runs in the opposite direction. Will the plane take off and fly or not?
Currently we’re 2 for it taking off and 2 against… well 1 and a half as the one isn’t yet 100% sure.
Basically the argument for it taking off goes something like this…
The thrust from the engines pushes against the air and pushes the plane forward, the treadmill as no effect on the plane and cannot cancel the thrust of the engines because it doesn’t have any kind of “grip” on the plane… all that happens is the wheels turn faster and faster as the plane accelerates and the treadmill tries to pull the plane backwards.
For the plane to take off all you need is wind over the wings which you should get because the plane would be moving forward.
Update (8:15pm 06-12-2006):
It’s interesting but most people assume the plane won’t go… and generally the reason given is that it would behave like a car and not move… but everyone forgets that a plane isn’t driven on the ground by the wheels the wheels just make the plane easier to move but don’t have any “drive”.