Don’t forget that tonight’s episode of Mythbusters promises to answer the question about whether or not an airplane on a treadmill could achieve flight.
UPDATE: Full spoilers and discussion of the episode after the break.
The plane took off, as I believe I guessed and for all the right reasons. That is, the power is generated by the propeller and NOT the wheels.
But you know what? This is the internet. This episode of the Mythbusters will be further debated until the end of time. I guarantee you that there are those who believed the plane would not take off who are explaining why the experiment was flawed. They’re probably saying there was some give in the tarp that they used as a conveyor belt, thus gaining traction for the plane and derailing the experiment. Or something. I have no doubt this is NOT the end of it, though it works for me.
Here, let me quote me for a second, from last November:
I think I have it. The plane WILL take off. The power of the plane’s movement come not from how fast the wheels are going. That’s what a car does. A plane catches air from the propulsion in its wings — prop place or jet place. The fact that the wheels are negated in the distance they travel doesn’t matter one bit. The whole plane is moving above it.
And they used the car analogy on the show, to boot.
Adam from Mythbusters hangs out at MetaFilter. It’ll be interesting to see if the debate rages on there in the morning.