Can an aircraft take off with zero ground speed?

  • $\begingroup$ Theoretically, a lot of things are possible, but for that, the main criterion would be to have a relative wind equivalent to the minimum liftoff speed of the fighter. Which seems to be about 200km/h (at least for Rafale, F15, A10 according to wikipedia), so it is quite unfeasible in practice $\endgroup$ – BambOo Oct 4 '20 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ Just to clarify: You are not talking about VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) here, are you? $\endgroup$ – Bianfable Oct 4 '20 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ Relevant video: Piper Cubs at Air Force Academy in strong winds $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Oct 5 '20 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Can planes take off from a treadmill? $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Oct 5 '20 at 14:57

The speed in relation to the ground is completely irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the speed relative to he air. (It's called an "airplane", after all.)

So, if you can get enough air flowing over the wings without moving the airplane relative to the ground, then it will take off. The takeoff speed of an F-22 Raptor, for example, is somewhere around 130 kt ≅ 150 mih ≅ 240 kmh, so the required wind speed would be equivalent to a category EF3 tornado.

If you can generate that much airflow, then yes, the jet will take off.


If there is enough headwind, yes, as that's the only thing that matters, groundspeed is of no relevance.

If you're asking about the treadmill, see here.


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