Exploration 9.5: Two Airplanes with Different Land Speeds

new value for the wind velocity (-199 < vwind < 199) = km/hr

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Once you have made your prediction, play the animation to see if you were right.
  3. If you were incorrect, can you now see why you were incorrect? Explain.

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Physlets were developed at Davidson College and converted from Java to JavaScript using the SwingJS system developed at St. Olaf College.

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