by PhilipJ on 9 February 2006
Kottke is getting into the game of posting cute problems that make you think about what’s really going on: The case of the plane and conveyor belt (see Chad’s Tether-ball problem, and our very own Three cylinders problem for a couple of other good ones).
Reproduced for completeness:
A plane is standing on a runway that can move (some sort of band conveyer). The plane moves in one direction, while the conveyer moves in the opposite direction. This conveyer has a control system that tracks the plane speed and tunes the speed of the conveyer to be exactly the same (but in the opposite direction). Can the plane take off?
Jason flip-flops on the answer, so maybe we can help him out! Does the plane take off?