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Since the earth is rotating, why can't a plane that is flying from say, Perth to Johannesburg, just hover in the air and wait for Jo'burg to arrive underneath?


marked as duplicate by SMS von der Tann, Ron Beyer, Simon, Pondlife, mins Feb 28 '16 at 19:49

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    $\begingroup$ When you jump in the air, does the earth rotate under your feet? Can you put your car in neutral and "let the earth move your car"? Air moves with the earth too... $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 28 '16 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ Well, in a certain sense it does. But it has to run its engines, or it would be blown eastward by the air that's rotating along with the Earth :-) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Feb 28 '16 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf No it doesn't. What happens when you launch a lighter than air balloon in no wind? An aircrat needs engines to produce enough speed to gain lift since it's heavier than air. $\endgroup$ – Simon Feb 28 '16 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Simon: The balloon is carried eastward by the rotating air, of course. Lift is a separate issue: suppose you had a dirigible: with no power, it's carried with the wind; with sufficient power (and ignoring structural issues) it remains stationary in a celestial reference frame while the Earth rotates under it :-) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Feb 28 '16 at 19:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Simon you are, of course, right in this matter, though I have to give jamesqf credit for taking the OPs point of view. I think he is perfectly aware of the fact that the balloon is not going anywhere when you release it up in the air. He said "in a certain sense [the plane] does [hover]" and I agree. Say you're on the sun, and see an airplane flying west with the same airspeed the earth rotates with, wouldn't it "stand still" ? So yeah, you are definitely right, but I don't think jamesqf is that wrong when giving the OP something to think about. $\endgroup$ – Maverick283 Feb 29 '16 at 11:34

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