Physlets run in a Java-enabled browser, except Chrome, on the latest Windows & Mac operating systems. If Physlets do not run, click here for help updating Java & setting Java security.
Exploration 9.5: Two Airplanes with Different Land Speeds
Please wait for the animation to completely load.
Two airplanes (not shown to scale) travel the same round-trip distance between two cities (position is given in kilometers and time is given in hours). Both airplanes have the same air speed (200 km/hr), but one airplane (the top airplane with the blue wingtip) travels faster or slower relative to the ground because it is subject to a headwind and tailwind. A positive wind velocity means a tailwind on the outbound part of the trip and a headwind on the inbound part of the trip. The wind velocity can be changed by entering a value (-199 < vwind < 199) in the text box and registering the value. Restart.
- Before entering a nonzero value in the text box, predict which airplane will reach its destination first if the top (blue) airplane is subject to a head/tail wind.
- Once you have made your prediction, play the animation to see if you were right.
- If you were incorrect, can you now see why you were incorrect? Explain.