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)

1 comment:

MuddyValley said...

There is another answer. Professor Fukano's support pilots are both good Samurais. Fugori leaves with the Professor counter clockwise & gives him all his fuel shortly before the 180* mark, when he then crashes. The Professor makes it past the 1/2 way point. Fukano meanwhile has traveled clockwise and transfers his fuel to the Professor just before the Professor's plane is empty. The Professor makes it home but the the support craft do not.
This was probably the correct answer back in the 40's. :-)