Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from oscar, a student:

A plane flies 400 miles with the wind and 340 miles against the wind in the same length of time. If the speed of the wind is 24mph, what is the speed of the plane in still air?

What formula do you use to solve this?

Hi Oscar,

Suppose that the speed of the plane in still air is s miles per hour. The speed of the plane with the wind is thus s + 24 miles per hour and the speed of the plane against the wind is s - 24 miles per hour.

For each flight rate = distance/time. Write the equation for each flight and then use the fact that the time is the same for both flights to solve for s.

I hope this helps,

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