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Q & A: Flying into the wind

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Most recent answer: 12/11/2009
Q:
My students asked be if hypothetically , a plane were flying at 300 miles per hour and the wind was blowing at 300 miles per hour in the opposite direction, would the plane stop moving and fall out of the sky?
- Susan Dabrowski
Hammond, IN USA
A:
No, it would still fly since the relative velocity of the plane with respect to the wind is still 300 mph.  The vertical lift of the wings is only proportional to this relative wind-plane velocity.  Unfortunately, the plane wouldn't go far with respect to the ground.

LeeH

(published on 12/11/2009)

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