Will It Take Off?

will it take off Will It Take Off? wtf Humor Forum Fodder
There’s been a little bit of a conversation on this matter, and I’m not sure why. It seems obvious to me, right?

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127 Responses to Will It Take Off?

  1. Why would it take off? The wheels would spin, but no lift is created.

  2. No you idiot, it does take off. Haven’t you ever seen an airplane take off at an airport? It has to go fast in order for that to happen. GOSH!

    /sarcasm

  3. I think it would take off, because when your on a treadmill you’re techincally moving. just doesnt seem like it.

    In any even if it did the wings would break on the side of the treadmill and it would crash anyways lol.

  4. This may be fun!

    It will of course take off, even assuming the treadmill is the size of a real landing strip (which is part of the original supposition).

    The wheels do not move the plane, nor create lift. They are incidental to the aircraft’s takeoff. The propellers or jet engines create the forward force. Other than spinning madly (or not moving at all, depending on how the question is worded), it will have no effect on the takeoff, which would occur normally.

  5. Why would the wings break off? It would actually go away from the control panel. Maybe, if you turned the plane around and gave a little more incline (away from the control panel), you’d get a bit of distance.

  6. because it has to go forward and it can’t go up like a helicopter. So if it goes forward the wings would break because the wing span is larger than the treadmill.

  7. No. How would the wheels spinning create the wind resistance needed to lift the plane?

    How is that debatable? It’s not that the plane goes fast enough that it suddenly by magic can fly. It’s the wind pushing on the wings that causes the lift.

    Der.

  8. Kero, why would it go forward? Do you run backwards on the treadmill? No. See the video or animated GIF of the girl busting her ass on a treadmill. NOTE: she doesn’t go forward, her legs don’t break off, BUT it IS damn funny.

  9. Actualy this is a good thing to ponder about.
    IMO

    The plane would take off as from a normal runway.
    The thing is is that the airplane is using air around it to drive itself, not the wheels.

    It would just take off ignoring the treadmill completeley.

    On the other hand, if you make a treadmill from air (think lots of stacked together fans) you can get it to “Hover” in place O_o.

  10. We need the Mythbusters.

  11. I don’t get the debate; how could it possibly be able to take off? Assuming it could get enough propulsion to counteract the motion of the treadmill, it still wouldn’t be able to take off since the treadmill isn’t nearly long enough for the plane to be able to accellerate enough to generate lift. And assuming it somehow would be able to, it would either have to instantly tilt upwards at almost a 90 degree angle in order to clear the control panel and stand, or rotate dramatically along the chassis to avoid having the wings completely sheared off.

    And Kero: You actually aren’t moving (at least in the sense that would be relative to this conversation) when you’re running on a treadmill. Of course this is relative, so it might be best to say that you aren’t moving in relation to the earth, which a plane would need to be in order to create resistance against the wind and thus take off.

  12. No, it wont.

    Anyone who disagrees is a dumbass.

  13. It won’t take off. Anyone who remembers the least bit of Physics could tell you why.

    Lift is created by a pressure differetial between the top and bottom of the wing, created by the difference in length of travel of air over the wing. It’s called Bernouli’s Priciple.

    Since in this case, there would be little to no airflow over the wings, no lift would be created. The wheels can spin all damn day, and if there’s no lift, no takeoff.

    The whole purpose of wheels on a plane is to reduce friction between the ground and plane, making it much easier to acheive the AIR SPEED required for the lift needed for takeoff, with much less thrust (forward propulsion) than if you had the plane mounted on skids. Of course, wheels make for a much nicer landing, too.

    I know that some people are just kidding with their comments, but still.

    What would be a reasonable situation to ponder would be the same airframe in front of a large fan, and the question would be “Will it take off?”

    That might have a shot at getting off the ground, but since the lift would be created all by the fan, and the plane would lack it’s own propulsion, it would likely lift off, then backflip or veer off and crash.

  14. Ok. Imagine you have a hypothetical 2 miles long treadmill.
    If the engines are set to full power the plane will simply push itself using the air around it(Thats how a jet engine works). The wheels will spin madly (due to speed relative to the earth+speed of the treadmill). However the engines and the lift generation component ignores the treadmill speed nearly completely. (the plane might be set a few hundred feet back at the start while spooling up the engines).
    Given the fact that the wheels are there just to reduce friction (and they DO that, the plane wont take off if the brakes are on ), the plane will just take off ignoring the treadmill.

  15. It all depends on the speed of the treadmill vs. the speed of the plane.

  16. Wait no it doesnt. Assuming the wheels don’t break off because they would be skidding the plane would take off. Because the the jets that move the plane not the wheels. so the plane would go forward and the wheels would just skid across it and kind of break, and then the plane would crash. But if the wheels were hylothetically indistructable, then the plane would take off.

  17. no air movement = no lift

    i don’t get why this is so difficult

  18. another thing to take into consideration is the immense thrust that is being shot out the back of the turbines, I dont know how much thrust exactly but i do know that the engines on full power, if left stationary for too long will eventually start ripping up the runway.. they are pretty damn powerful and this idea would just screw up the runway

  19. Your answer would be correct if the forward thrust of the plane were being created by the wheels. Since the wheels are free spinning, and the thrust is being created by the engines, theoretically the plane can take off. Assuming that the treadmill was long enough, and that the thrust of the plane could overcome the extra resistance that would be put to the spinning wheels. That is of course assuming that the wheels can withstand the extreme spinning that would occur. An example would be if the tread was spinning at 12kph, and the plane tries to head forward at 12kph, the wheels would actually be spinning at like 24kph…(forgive me if the math is a bit off, but I’m just trying to prove the concept)

  20. If we’re going out on limbs here, then yes, if you had a treadmill 1-2 miles long, and you had enough forward thrust to overcome the treadmill speed and still get enough forward air speed for the lift required for takeoff, then you could get this beast off the ground.

    If you’re going to build a 2 mile long treadmill for this experiment, here’s a question…

    Why not just build a damn runway?

    It seems that whole posit is if you could somehow get it off the ground on an abbrevated runway using a treadmill or like device.

    I say that the only way to shorten the length of ground required for takeoff is to either lighten the load so less lift is required, increase the forward thrust and air speed by some mechanism such as the JATO (Jet-Assisted Take Off) bottles that the military has in it’s inventory, or some combination of the two.

    What could work is a treadmill went fast enough that you could achieve a ground speed comparable to the air speed required for takeoff. Then, the treadmill suddenly stopped or slowed considerably, transferring that ground speed into air speed and catapulting you forward. In doing such, you would place a tremendous “G” load on the airframe, and certainly the passengers. Imagine being shot from 0 to 130-150 MPH almost instantaneously.

    Imagine you are standing still and step, feet planted firmly, onto a moving treadmill. You’d go shooting off the back, right? Some of us have had the pleasure of seeing this happen to someone. Well, if the opposite were true, and you were going really fast on the treadmill, and it suddenly stopped, you’d be fired off in a forward direction. This type of jolt would probably not be very healthy for a commercial plane or its passengers, but the steam catapults on aircraft carriers accelerate the planes to about 125 knots in a very short distance, so the concept has been adapted to practical use in a way.

  21. Everybody stand up and run in place, as though on a treadmill. Feel any wind?

  22. Umm, so the answer to this puzzle depends on the exact wording of the question. I’ve seen it written two ways, and I’ve answered each below.

    1) If the treadmill were designed to match the speed of the PLANE, it will take off. Say the plane is traveling at 100 mph (relative to the GROUND), then the treadmill will spin at 100 mph in the opposite direction, causing the wheels to spin at 200 mph. The wheel speed does not match the plane speed (or the treadmill speed); however, the plane is moving relative to the ground (and air–no magic lift here), and takes off.

    2) If the treadmill is designed to match the speed of the WHEELS, the plane will not take off. The plane cannot move relative to the ground as long as the wheels are not sliding. (In the above example, the wheel speed can never be the same as the treadmill speed if the plane is moving relative to the ground) Of course, this would have to be some treadmill to accelerate and maintain speeds such that the small amount of force it generated against the plane through friction in the axles would counteract the huge amounts of thrust generated by the engines. Surely, this is not the intent of the question, but with this wording, it is the correct answer.

    Assuming that wording #1 is the one most people are using (it’s certainly the more sensible of the two), then most people seem to make the mistake of thinking that speed of the plane is the wheel speed. But the only sensible reference for the speed of the plane is relative to the ground. So, if you’re holding on to the sides of a treadmill that traveling at 5mph while you are on a skateboard, you are motionless. Now, assuming that the treadmill is not banked, the force you need to move yourself forward (analogous to the thrust necessary to move the plane forward) is not much greater than if the treadmill were not on at all. It will be slightly greater, due to some friction in your wheel axles, but not much. Once you do begin moving forward, the speed of the treadmill is still 5 mph, but the wheel speed is now 5 mph plus however fast you’re going. The wheel speed is not the same as your speed.

    So, put your skateboard on that conveyor runway, strap a jet engine to yourself, and I suspect you’ll move forward (relative to the ground) no matter how fast the runway moves. And so does the plane. Just so long as there is no specification that the runway moves as fast as your wheels.

  23. Two scenarios.

    1. no take off – the plane does not move forward due to the force of the treadmill against the wheels. this is not how plane wheels work, however.

    2. take off – the plane takes off because even though the wheels spin madly, they have no bearing on the engines pushing the plane forward.

  24. The plane is facing the wrong to take off, so no. It would not

  25. It seems to me the essential question is “Can a plane take off (lift off) without moving forward (staying in place). Not with a treadmill. Maybe with a large fan blowing air over the wings… What if the wings moved by themselves, say, rotating around a central axis, thus generating air resistance that generates lift! Yeah, that would work! I think we should call this new idea “Helicopter”. Wait a second! There’s another way for this to work. If the jet engines actually swiveled to produce vertical thrust… it would be a feature that we could call “Vertical Take-Off Landing”, or VTOL for short.

  26. Jesus, you expect that plane to take off?? Christ. You people think that planes take off, due to the wheels turning?? The wheels could be going 500mph, it would make shit all difference. Some of you need to go back to school.

  27. People are getting quite vehement without realising that their opponents are answering a different question to them. There are two different questions here, and that is what is causing the confusion.

    Q1. Can use of a treadmill allow a plane to take off without moving forward?

    To which the answer, is, of course, no. You’d get no airspeed under and over the wings, hence no lift.

    Q2. Can a plane take off if there is a treadmill under the wheels, spinning in the opposite direction to the planes movement, set to match the speed of the planes forward motion?

    (This is (paraphrased) the original theoretical question asked, and upon which the above satirical picture was created. Some people are therefore answering this question, not the “face-value” question suggested by the picture.)

    In this instance, the answer is yes, the plane can take off, since the speed of the treadmill will have zero effect on the planes forward motion. The plane will move forward just as it would on an ordinary runway, and thus take off as normal.

  28. what are all you eggheads talking about. it’s obvious to me that the plane is not looking to “take off” but just to lose the lovehandles. you know how those jet planes tease…..

  29. This discussion is retarded. There’s only one appropriate use of a treadmill… OK GO! youtube.com/watch?v=NINJQ5LRh-0

  30. I don’t think that anyone here is stupid.
    I think that many of you are confused, or not thinking long enough, but not stupid.
    (Except possibly LordOpie. OK GO was not a long-lasting meme. Please try to get over it.)

    1 – Survey The Situation
    This picture is not meant as an exact diagram of the experiment, it is just a funny way to make us think about it.
    The actual experiment refers to a runway-sized treadmill, with no handles or incline, with a plane moving in the opposite direction to its (the treadmill’s) motion.

    2 – Biology 707
    A car moves by pushing against the ground.
    If you put a car on an appropriate treadmill, it would indeed stay in one place.
    However, a plane pushes against the air, the wheels are there because if they weren’t, the plane would scrape along the ground, slowly grinding itself away. The wheels aren’t even connected to a motor.

    3 – It All Comes Together
    The plane is on the treadmill. The engines roar into life and push against the air. Eventually, the engines are generating so much thrust that the plane edges forward. The treadmill operators notice this, and start their contraption, only to watch hopelessly as the plane ignores them completely. For it is pushing against the air, not the ground. The plane eventually reaches the critical speed, and ascends, its pilot satisfied with a flawless takeoff.

    I hope this has been of use to someone. In future, try not to put each other down so harshly. We’re all doing the best we can.

  31. Well…

    The engines push the plane and the air resistance against the wings causes the lift. Without the resistance generated by the motion of the plane the efforts of the engines are for nothing. Regardless of the size of the phantom treadmill or railings the plane would not take off. The concept contradicts the physics of flight.

    Your implying that the plane would move along the treadmill because the wheels are there only to hold it up until the necessary air pressure is there. For your scenario to work the plane would need to go faster than the treadmill could compensate for right? Well that nullifies the entire experiment. The point was whether or not the plane would lift without forward motion. The answer is NO. If it were possible I’m sure we’d be seeing some very different looking airports.

  32. Wait wait, even if it did take off, wouldn’t it just hit the handle-things in the front?

  33. Also, what if it was a really, really windy day?

  34. Why are people still talking about this?

  35. Holy crap I can’t believe I read all this.

    I think I actually feel dumber now.

  36. Ok For Those Of You Saying It Would Take Off. STFU You Morons

  37. no it wouldn’t take off, it would go airborn if there was a fan blowing air under the wings.

  38. Of course it wouldn’t take off,
    the flaps are in the “landing” position.

  39. Good one y’all. It wouldnt take off its a picture. ;)

  40. At this point I want to run into that picture and kick the fucking plane off the treadmill.

  41. ok…

    Imagine a treadmill that’s long enough for a plane to take off of.

    When the treadmill starts to move back, the plane will also start to move back. In order to stay in place, the plane will have to push itself forward.

    How do planes push forward? By pushing air back.

    The faster the treadmill moves, the faster the plane engine will have to push air backwards.

    This creates a RELATIVE motion of air over the wings.

    “Everybody stand up and run in place, as though on a treadmill. Feel any wind?” [comment 24]

    Of course not… you’re moving foward (compared to the treadmill) by pushing the treadmill back, not by pushing air back (like the plane does). This isn’t even a correct comparison.

  42. I can’t believe this is still an issue. Of course the treadmill will take of, its got an airplane pushing it! Seriously, the plane would never leave the ground due to no air going across the wings, creating lift, which is how a plane flies, not by “Pushing air back.”

  43. It’s sad that it takes 47 comments to resolve a question that should have taken 1. Whoever still thinks it’ll fly I will hunt down and beat with a physics book.
    This had better be the last comment I see in this thread.

  44. by reading this, my iq is now lower than room temperature.

  45. The people who say it will not take off wrongly assume that acceleration is in the wheels. Based off their assumption, if the wheels push the plane forward at 200 mph, and the treadmill moves back 200 mph, then the AIRSPEED will be 0 mph and the plane will obviously NOT take off. TREADMILLS DO NOT PUSH AIR!

    However that is a wrong assumption.

    The acceleration is in the jet propulsion, which is dependent on conservation of momentum, not tires. If the plane is being thrust forward 200 mph and the ground is moving back 200 mph, the ground speed will be 400!! mph and the airspeed will STILL be 200 mph (assuming friction of wheels on ground is negligible).

    You can’t model an airplane on a treadmill like you model a car on a treadmill.

    “When the treadmill starts to move back, the plane will also start to move back.”

    The correct way to think about this, is if the plane is moving forward 10 mph based off thrust, and the treadmill starts spinning, the plane will still be moving forward 10 mph, but the tires will be spinning at 20 mph.

  46. Addendum:

    If the treadmill goes from 0-200 mph in 0.1 seconds, and you are sitting in a car in neutral, your wheels will spin but you won’t really move too much (assume everything stays intact).

    It’s like pulling a tablecloth from under a marble.

    If you have a jet engine on your car, it will start pushing your car forward, while your wheels are still spinning like crazy.

    That is the correct way to model it, because at high speeds friction of the treadmill on wheels is negligible.

  47. Addendum:

    At this point I want to run into that picture and kick the fucking plane off the treadmill and then pick the plane up off the ground and stab Michael in the face with it.

  48. Do you ever consider that the people holding the “it can fly” end of this argument are just doing it to fuck with you? Think about it….

  49. Sigh.

    Imagine a real runway at an airport. Imagine that the ground on both sides of the runway start moving foward really fast. Can a plane still take off from that runway? Why not?

  50. For fecks sake!!! Get it through your nullo-brainsacks, ground moving backwards threadmill-style will not slow down a plane in any way, It’ll just cause some heat through friction in the wheel base. Of course it will take off!

  51. As a teacher, I am really embarrassed regarding the state of education. Those that are kidding: you really are making gullible people stupider. Those who are serious: open up a physics book.

  52. Stop talking about this no one cares anymore.

  53. just flip the plane around put on the planes breaks, turn on the engines, set the treadmill to high speeds, and kabango! plane takes off with out even moving it’s wheels….

    logical solution.

  54. This is beyond a doubt, the stupidest site on the web. I’ve yet to find a post here that would appeal to anyone mentally older than 14.

  55. Bumberschut, that’s hardly a fair statement and really only serves to illustrate your novice use of the internet.

    You’re also a homo and totally gay in the pants.

  56. Sike Cecil’s answer says that the plane will take off on a treadmill that has enough length. The question here is if the plane will take off just from the treadmill going backwards and the plane pulling its self forward to keep up with the treadmill and it is an obvious that the answer is no, this is because if the plane is pulling itself forward enough to keep up with the treadmill (as a normal person running on a treadmill would do) then it is still stationary and there is no air running across the wings to create any lift.

  57. Wow. 61 comments before this one and are there really still people out there that think that plane would take off?

  58. ok we get it. Stop explaining it before i have to kick you in the throat.

  59. How does a plane move? Force caused by it’s engines. The wheels have nothing to do with it. If they did, how would a water plane take off?

    Think of it as if you replaced the wheels with skis. The plane would still take off just fine on a normal run way. On the treadmill, sure, the treadmill will spin the wheels backwards at some X speed, but the plane will still move forward regardless.

  60. Why are you people posting about this pic still. the dead horse is clearly the new plane on a treadmill.

  61. no shit it wont take off, there is a treadmill in the way YOU STUPID DUMBFUCKS!

  62. Well, Colin, your mama must have raised you on picturebooks, because the treadmill above is just a “funny” illustration of a scienific question that deals mainly with methods of propulsion. Of course the plane and threadmill shown above are not the actual ones meant in the thought experiment. If your train of logic were followed, the answer would be :”no, it is a toy plane and would not be capable of jet prpulsion”

    Who’s a stupid dumbfuck now?

  63. Yeah but Brendan N. some toy planes /can/ fly. Haven’t you ever seen Flight of the Phoenix?

  64. Well caio, that sounds like a whole ‘nother discussion to me…Why don’t you start a thread and I’ll be happy to post some pedantic speculation about minimal sizes for practical jet-engines.

  65. doesn’t the answer depend on what speed you set the treadmill to?

  66. are you trolling ando?

  67. Hmmm….i’m a pilot and i can say this…. an fixed wing aircraft will only take off if and only if there exist sufficent air movement (wind) aross the wing (thats what a wing does; it converts wind energy into lifting energy). A plane on a moving treadmill do not receive any wind for it to take off.

  68. to Aristoi on Dec 15th,

    The engine does provide a small portion of lifting power. If you know anyting about vectors, you will notice that a componet from the engine’s power is pointed upwards, hence lift. However, this is only true when the engine is pointed above the horizon.

  69. To those cares about the wheels!!!!!!

    IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT THE WHEELS ARE DOING… Some planes dont have wheels –> flat planes and ski planes. Wind and wing is all that matters when it comes to take off. A plane can still take off if there is enough headwind even if the plane is stationary… try it on flight sim.

    To, Ando… even if you set tte treadmill to 1000 mph, there is no wind across the wings for it to generate lift.

  70. Actually the answer is no because treadmills can’t fly. Even with planes on them.

    That’s the actual answer kids. It’s a semi-old joke that no one in 74 comments clued into.

    Hooray for me getting fed up and finally handing the answer over.

  71. you know what brendan n. i want you to go put your head between you knees and suck ur balls in ur throat cuz u kno wat, THIS IS A WEBSITE DUMBASS WHO CARES, besides i was just posting a comment on this picture you dumbshit i dont see what the hell is wrong with you, cuz if you can find things i say funny then more power to ya, but if u dont idc, but if you dont and hace something to say about it then dont bitch and moan over teh internet bitch and moan about it in my face cuz this is a picture god dammit

  72. actually the real question is, will the plane take off on a treadmill, that is black, those sparkling wiggle treadmills

  73. You guys are all idiots. There is no way for it to take off. It would hit the damn poles. And lets say the poles were not there, there is no vertical lift because the plane isn’t actually going anywhere, there has to be forward motion for it to go anywhere.

  74. Rawr, it might take off! Or it may not! Who knows! RAWRROFLKTHXBYEZ!

  75. Using internet acronyms is a sure sign you’re a fucking loser.

  76. put it in a box with a 50/50 chance of the engines starting. them you wont now if its moving or not, much less if it’s flying.

  77. holy fuck you guys are completely retarted, the fucken ariplane would definately NOT take off, because if you turn the treadmill on, the wheels would spin and NO air would move over the wings causing lift.

  78. So you’d assume, with the most posts and months of activity, that this was the best post ever.

  79. Wow Jason you just blew my mind like a Thai hooker with no teeth.

    Oh wait a sec…THAT’S BEEN POINTED OUT 10 FUCKING TIMES ALREADY OVER THE PAST MONTHS!

    It would seem that holy fuck, Jason is the one who is retarded.

  80. This topic needs to be closed for discussion already.

  81. ^^^ No no no no no no

    Let’s keep discussing what other’s can’t understand, it makes me feel better about myself. Especially when there are so many people who are smarter than me, it makes me feel good to read through post after post of others trying to wrap their heads around the obvious.

  82. If you even contemplate this for a second then you should just shoot your self in the head.

    No air moving past the wings = NO LIFT!

  83. please, Tiki! make it stop!!!

  84. It probably depends on who’s flying the plane.

    Cause I don’t think I could take off from there.

  85. If Han Solo were flying, he could do it.

  86. this airplane is made of plastic so it wont :D
    but in the scenario of the original question with a long long runway of treadmill, that goes in the opposite direction of the planes wheels, ofc it will take off :D the wheels and the runway will be spinning both, always accelerating, but a plane doesnt take off cause they taxi it along the runway..the condition tween wheels an runway is the same as tween a waterplanes lil skates and the water – the jet engines WILL make the plane go forward cause jet engines dont give a sh*t about wheels an runways, it just occupies itself with the system that is the air around the plane :)

  87. This plane has a lot more problems besides being made out of plastic… like what is it doing on a treadmill in the first place? Burning calories?

  88. well duh it wont take off, u have to get it off of the treadmill first.

  89. I wonder if this thread can fly yet.

    I bet it’s got enough wind and hot air to get it off the ground.

  90. OMG, we need to keep arguing, or risk this page losing its coveted ‘most commented’ status! We don’t want to lose it to ‘Nude BBW’! Seriously, no one wants that.

  91. I think everyone has figured out by now that about:
    25% of this thread knows it will fly and just say it wont because they’re trolls.

    25% know it will fly and are trying to fight the trolls, not realizing you can only kill a troll with fire, and the fires of a flamewar are insufficient. Or they are simply unaware that the other 25% are trolls.

    50% of this thread has no idea whatsoever what is going on, they are just typing words because everyone else is.

  92. It won’t fly. I don’t see how this is even a serious question.

    The wheels will turn, but that doesn’t mean anything. What makes it fly is the lift created under the wing.

    And in order to do that it has to be actually moving through the air. On a treadmill the plane will be motionless, regardless of the wheels, and the air will therefor not generate lift.

    Apparently this is not the first time its been pointed out, which brings me to my next point:

    WTF IS THIS STILL DOING AT 1# MOST COMMENTED???

  93. This will not work because the only way the plane gets off the ground is by air resistance.

    #2, the treadmill goes backwards. Even assuming that the jet’s engines are going fast enough to take off if the jet were on the ground, there is no wind for the wings to push off of to get lift off of the ground.

  94. It will take off… 100 comments!!!!

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