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Sep25-07, 06:23 PM
P: 12
Ok I think I've got it pretty much, it's all due to friction and inertia. That brings me to my next question, which is actually where this debate started.

I'm sure many of you are aware that plane journeys from East to West take less time than the same journey from West to East. The classical explanation is that's just the way the wind blows, and of course that is a major factor, but I was wondering if there is actually some effect of breaking free of the earth's rotation. This would be due to the following:
1. Obviously, not touching the ground anymore.
2. Minimized air resistance due to aerodynamic build, so we can pretty much ignore the atmosphere for a qualitative question (i.e. is there an effect AT ALL?)
3. Again obviously, accelerative force generated by the jet engines.

The plane has inertia as soon as it takes off, but as it begins to push air back with its engines it gradually overcomes the inertia. Due to the massive air drag it actually experiences in the practical situation, it can only manage this to some extent. Does this make any sense?