Takeoff On a Conveyor Belt

If a plane sits on a conveyor belt whose speed matches that of the plane in the opposite direction, can the plane take off?

Yes, because a plane’s wheels roll freely and have no affect on the movement of the plane(unlike a car). The propeller or jet engine makes the plane move and the plane will be able to take off normally. If you don’t believe me, here’s proof.

Posted in Brain Teasers


5 Comments on "Takeoff On a Conveyor Belt"

Erbureth says
May 4, 2016 @ 12:16


assuming the conveyor belt can always match the speed, it will rise up to infinity, wheels would melt from friction and plane would crash.

Joe says
July 22, 2016 @ 13:37

No. If the plane is sitting on the conveyer belt, its speed is zero. Once it begins moving, it is possible.

Joe says
July 22, 2016 @ 14:01

If the plan is sitting, its speed is zero, meaning it cannot take off.

Scott Cohen says
December 27, 2016 @ 21:15

Without forward speed an airplane will not have lift. The “Myth Busters” used RC Airplanes that had a power to weight racios far outside full scale aircraft, also the ultra-lite airplane used was over powered for it’s weight.

Keep in mind, Air Planes do not do well taking-off “down wind” and I hope I don’t have yo explain why!

Tony says
July 8, 2017 @ 06:01

So slowly this time…. 747 is on the treadmill idle engine thurst assuming it’s not rolling forward yet and treadmill speed zero… with me? Not moving. Pilot applied thrust, the airplanes mass is moved forward thus the wheels will roll… at the same instant the theoretical treadmill starts to turn at the same speed as the wheel( remember it turns because the mass of the aircraft is acted on by the thrust) so the wheel turns and the belt moves and the airplane does not move. As the thrust increases and its effect on the mass would cause the wheels to run over the “ground” but the “ground” i.e. Conveyer accelerates to match so again treadmill goes faster/ wheels spin at the same rate as the conveyor but the mass of the aircraft and its position has not moved. Assuming the belt can keep up with available thrust at the same rate and no tire speed limits. The thrust would top out and the treadmill/wheels would be spinning at an equivalent speed. The aircrafts mass is still zero. Thus no airflow over the wings and no lift. So will not fly. You need to disregard friction and assume smart computer control of the treadmill to match the acceleration…

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