UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How can a plane take off at the equator and fly to the North Pole? When we know the equator is moving faster than the north pole. I know part of the reason is conservation of momentum, we keep the momentum of the earth when we take off in a plane, which is why a plane traveling say 300 miles per hour can fly and get some where, even though the earth is revolving at about 1000 miles per hour at the Equator. So, relative to the earth we are only traveling 300 miles per hour. That is also the reason why when I jump in the air the earth has not moved all of a sudden a 1000 miles in the direction it is spinning.
Question Date: 2015-10-30
Answer 1:

The answer is that the plane is, in fact, accelerating (or, rather, decelerating) as it goes north. The 300 mph number that the plane is flying at is the relative difference in speed between the plane and the air in which the plane is flying. The fact that the plane is maintaining the same longitude as it flies north, however, does mean that the plane has to aim itself slightly northwest instead of due north, for exactly the reason you describe.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use