Planes on conveyors: the plane would take off

Some time ago I wrote about whether or not an airplane would take off from a conveyor belt which moves backwards at the same speed as the airplane’s wheels would move forward. My position was that it would not take off however I have thought about it some more, reviewed ground school and other materials and I am now reversing my position. The plane would take off.

An airplane creates forward movement by pushing on the air mass with its propeller or jet engine. Technically, since the propeller is a rotating wing, it pulls the airplane forward in the same way that a wing keeps the airplane in the air. The wheels simply act as bearings to reduce the friction between the airplane and the surface it is on. Therefore, the airplane would move through the air mass when its propeller is spinning fast enough, the wings would create lift and…lift off!

Everything else I covered in the previous post relating to lift and angle of attack and such still applies. I hope this clears the air a bit. If you’ve got any questions, leave them in the comments!