The episode, which airs in December, finds Savage and Hyneman tackling a question baffling everyone from bloggers to pilots: If a plane is traveling at takeoff speed on a conveyor belt, and that conveyor belt is matching the speed in reverse, can the plane take off? “We put the plane on a quarter-mile conveyor belt and tested it out,” says Savage about the experiment using a pilot and his Ultralight plane. “I won’t tell you what the outcome was, but the pilot and his entire flight club got it wrong.”
I can debate both sides of this argument, so I’ll be happy to see the results on this one. I’m guessing it will, though. The plane is still moving fast enough for the air to wrap around the wings. It just doesn’t move in relation to the ground below it, which is also moving in the opposite direction. Just where does one find a quarter-mile conveyor belt? That’s impressive by itself!