A plane on a treadmill blah blah blah

Is it just me or is this whole debate the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?

Wind over wings=lift.

No wind over wings=no lift.

Everything else is intellectual wankery.


No, that debate wasn’t the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

The stupidest thing I’ve ever heard was an OP that tried to restart the debate.

Personally I thought the many “plane/treadmill question is stupid!” threads were the most pointless threads on this board. If you don’t like a particular topic, just ignore it- nobody is forcing you to read it.

I actually learned some interesting things by participating in the original plane/treadmill thread. I admit the later incarnations (e.g. after Cecil’s artcle) were somewhat repetitive, but that didn’t really bother me. I just stopped reading the thread and and that’s that.

I have to admit some sympathy here. Sorta reminded me of the Simpson’s episode “Bart The Genius” where the kids start pulling up random facts solely to show just how smart they really are, and how stupid Bart is for not being as smart as they are. Cuz, see, they are really smart. See, they know stuff. And stuff.

But, as above, nobody forced us to click the links.


When discussing a supposedly real-life physics question, it’s entirely appropriate to start out with an over-simplified model, then discuss whether the small effects omitted from that model are really neglibible or not, e.g. “Hey, you ignored air resistance, are you sure that’s a good idea?”.

It makes me think of that one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Geordi and Data propose beaming some sort of endlessly recursive math problem into the Borg hivemind to entangle their thinking centers and cripple the culture. At the time, I thought, yeah, pshaw, right.

Now I’m imagining Data bellying up to the transmission console and typing: “Imagine you have a 747 on a treadmill…”

It wouldn’t be so bad if every tenth post wasn’t from some clown who thinks he has the definitive answer and then proceeds to post standard wrong answer number 1, demonstrating that he hasn’t even bothered to read the thread.

It is made even worse by the start of a new freaking thread each week so they can all go over the same stuff again, and again, and again.

There almost need to be a sticky with a summary of the three standard arguments, why they are right and why they are wrong.

Two planes on a treadmill walk into a bar… (Stop me if you’ve heard this one)

I’m somewhat embarassed to admit that I didn’t really get it until Friday’s column. That being said…I really didn’t think about it much either. Nor did I post about it. Now I’m over it.

When a plane on a treadmill reaches the speed of sound, it goes “Quack” without echoing, and no one knows why.

But it’s a very special quack that rhymes with both “orange” and “purple,” and ends in “-gry”.

If the wheels are being “tugged at” enough by the velocity of the treadmill then they could act as a break on the plane…


On the SDMB? Nope. Try reading the “.999… = 1?” threads. Even the people who should know better give the wrong arguments.

Q. Will a plane on a treadmill take off?

A: 42.

<le sigh> I guess that isn’t it either.

Moving on…

And it’s only been done once. In 1960. For 20 minutes.

This one time, at band camp, I was in a plane on a treadmill…

By pirates wielding 1920’s style death rays.

And when they came back, they brought pie.