Basic problem sorry for posting it.

• huncowboy
In summary: Yes, the surface can move at any arbitrary velocity. b) Yes, the surface can be controlled by some control system to make the airplane remain stationary wrt some non-moving point (i.e. an operator standing...etc).
huncowboy
Hi,

We have been discussing this following problem to the death at a different forum. I figured I will ask the professionally oriented what they have to say about it.

The problem:

The airplane (jet or the other one) is on the special surface, which can run backwards - opposite the direction of the tested airplane ready to take off. The speed of the moving surface is equal the speed of spinning wheels of the airplane at any time that is regulated persistently and efficiently by a special device.

The problem (question): will the airplane be able to run on this surface and then take off?

My take on it is it would, because the propeller is creating the forward motion not the wheel. But some say the wheel would spin so fast that it would create enough friction to counter the effect of the prop. I can't see that happening.

Probabaly this is a base school level question here but please chew in.

Thanks!

I take it you're thinking of a way to make a plane take off without having to travel any linear distance down a runway? Kind of a zero ground-roll take-off?

Obviously, it's not possible. Airplanes do not require groundspeed to take off, they require airspeed. The airspeed is what generates lift and allows the airplane to take flight. The airspeed is, generally, totally independent of the groundspeed.

If the airplane is not moving with respect to the air, it will not generate lift, and will not be able to fly -- no matter how fast its wheels are spinning.

- Warren

The airplane is stationary at start, so is the surface and the wheel.

Then we apply power.

In case the plane will not move my problem is to understand what counters the effect of the jet engine or the propeller. Those move the air backwards even if the plane say would stay at the same point. Where does the energy of tha air hitting the propeller blades go? I think due to action/reaction the prop would make the plane move forward, while it makes the air move backward... while the surface would move also backward increasingly faster.

But that is just me.

Originally posted by huncowboy
Where does the energy of tha air hitting the propeller blades go?
Into heating the bearings of the wheels, of course.

- Warren

So that, and the surface friction would be significant enough to stop the airplane? The next question would be how fast is the surface moving backwards at the moment when the airplane is already at full t/o power.

It has to be faster than the t/o speed or even the maximum cruise speed or else the opposing energy is just not sufficient IMO.

Originally posted by huncowboy
So that, and the surface friction would be significant enough to stop the airplane?
Not really surface friction. You mean rolling resistance, which is a dissipative force resulting from the deformation of tires and wheels and bearings and so forth. The (static) surface friction only serves to make the wheels rotate, and is not dependent upon the angular velocity of the wheels. Futhermore, static friction never does any work for a wheel that is not slipping.
The next question would be how fast is the surface moving backwards at the moment when the airplane is already at full t/o power.
This would depend quite strongly on both the airplane's thrust and its rolling resistance.
It has to be faster than the t/o speed or even the maximum cruise speed or else the opposing energy is just not sufficient IMO.
Why? If the engine is producing x horespower of thrust, you just have to make sure the rolling resistance of the wheels is dissipating x horsepower also. Since the power lost to rolling resistance is variable (we're assuming a perfect moving surface that is capable of any speed), this equality will always happen at some velocity. However, it is entirely possible that you'll simply burn the wheels up before you reach the airplane's maximum thrust.

- Warren

The speed of the moving surface is equal the speed of spinning wheels of the airplane at any time that is regulated persistently and efficiently by a special device.

If the wheels are in contact with the ground, this isn't possible. Any attempt to increase the speed of the moving surface will also increase the speed of rotation of the wheels by the same amount.

Try rubbing a roller against a piece of wood, and see what happens. Yep, the roller spins as well.

Originally posted by FZ+
If the wheels are in contact with the ground, this isn't possible.
FZ+, what I think he means is simply that the moving surface can

a) move at any arbitrary velocity
b) be controlled by some control system to make the airplane remain stationary wrt some non-moving point (i.e. an operator standing off to the side of the moving surface).

- Warren

chroot,

What I meant by the speed of the wheel and the surface:

When the airplane takes of at under normal conditions (no backward moving surface)... the resistance created by the wheel is not significant. The airplane will take off after the rollout. Say that speed when the airplane takes of is Vx. At Vx the friction and resistance generated by the wheels is a value. This value will not stop the plane from moving and accelerating to its t/o speed or else we would not have airplanes.

In our example however this force according to you guys (and othwer at the other forum as well) will eventually prohibit the plane from accelerating. In order this be true, the speed of the surface can't be Vx because at Vx we already decided that the wheels don't create enough friction. It must be more than Vx.

Unless I am missing something.

Originally posted by chroot
FZ+, what I think he means is simply that the moving surface can

a) move at any arbitrary velocity
b) be controlled by some control system to make the airplane remain stationary wrt some non-moving point (i.e. an operator standing off to the side of the moving surface).

- Warren

upss missed this post. Yes absolutely a, and b, I think is given by the problem although the problem was not created by me.

Last edited:
BTW what if we would change our wheels to scates and the surface would be ICE. In theory it is the same. But in reality I have hard time imagining it.

Originally posted by huncowboy
It must be more than Vx.
I agree.

- Warren

Originally posted by huncowboy
BTW what if we would change our wheels to scates and the surface would be ICE. In theory it is the same. But in reality I have hard time imagining it.
If the surface were ice (i.e. it were frictionless), then the surface could move at any velocity and impart absolutely no force on the airplane. The airplane will take off as it normally would. Actually, its ground roll would be a little shorter than normal, since it wouldn't have to fight the rolling resistance of the tires.

- Warren

So the answer is if there is ANY friction between the wheel and the surface it will not take off. Even the slightest. I think even ICE and water has some friction. But if there is zero friction it won't.

I still would like to see a few more persons to take their position.

Originally posted by huncowboy
So the answer is if there is ANY friction between the wheel and the surface it will not take off.
Right -- assuming, of course, that your moving surface is perfect, and can always go fast enough (ludicrous speed!) to counter the thrust with rolling resistance. In the real world, it would be next to impossible to engineer a surface that could ever move this fast, or accelerate rapidly enough. In addition, the wheels on a real plane would pretty quickly succumb to balance problems and self-destruct.
I think even ICE and water has some friction.
It does.
But if there is zero friction it won't.
Yup. In the limit of zero friction, there is no more rolling resistance, and nothing the moving surface could do would be able to stop the airplane. The moving surface exerts no force in the limit of zero friction.
I still would like to see a few more persons to take their position.
There's really no position to take -- it either is or it ain't.

- Warren

Thanks!

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