Monday, December 05, 2016
Can You Solve the Airplane Riddle?
Professor Fukanō is going to circumnavigate the globe in his airplane, but his tank doesn't hold enough fuel for the entire trip. He has support planes of the exact same model which can refuel him in the air, but none of the planes can land anywhere except the starting point airport. How can he get around the world without crashing from lack of fuel? There's some math involved. If you want to try this on your own, keep in mind that only Professor Fukanō's plane needs to go all the way around. Good luck.
I didn't even attempt to figure this out on my own, but the answer is rather simple when you start thinking in the right direction. It's that initial thinking in the right direction that's so daunting. Students of British military history have an edge, in that this kind of thing has been done before. Operation Black Buck during the 1982 Falklands War saw RAF bombers fly 12,600 kilometers, and had to refuel from support vehicles. The refueling scheme had to be explained in a diagram. (via Viral Viral Videos)