Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Airplanes on Treadmills

The internet has been abuzz for quite some time about the question of whether an airplane running on a conveyor belt can take off. There are countless websites and forums that have attempted to provide an answer to this question. The usual result, as with so many internet boards, is a lot of shouting and little definitive science.

The world awaits expectantly, then, for tonight's Mythbusters episode (9 pm on The Discovery Channel), in which the intrepid urban myth examiners tackle this problem. Based on the chatter I have seen in just a cursory glance at numerous forums, it would not surprise me if this became the highest rated Mythbusters to date.

(Interest in this question is so high that when the network mistakenly aired a prior Mythbusters episode with a broadcast guide description that included the airplane-on-a-conveyor-belt problem, the producers had to issue a formal online apology to stave off the high intensity outrage pouring in.)

Be sure to tune in, just so that you can say you were there when this question was finally put to the test.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I watched the episode. You could tell they were pretty excited about it. I think they were surprised by the result that an airplane can indeed take off from a treadmill - at least the pilot who flew the plane in the experiment was clearly surprised that he took off!