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ERIC Number: EJ892009
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Prepare for Landing
DiLisi, Gregory A.; Rarick, Richard A.
Physics Teacher, v45 n5 p300-302 May 2007
"The 2006 Winter Meeting of the AAPT Was Over..."and the flight home from Anchorage to Cleveland was just about to end--eight hours in the air, only two complimentary beverages, no meals, a jump across four time zones, a one-year-old baby daughter, and a wife whose motto for the week was, "Why did they choose to have a winter meeting in Alaska?" made for a mentally and physically taxing airborne ordeal. As we entered the last hour of flight, my small family was exhausted and the pilot's decision to dim the interior cabin lights mixed with the soothing hum of the Airbus[R] A320's engines quickly put us to sleep. Fading in and out of my delirium, I eventually heard the pilot's voice crackle over the intercom with a seemingly innocent comment: "We are going to begin our final descent into Cleveland...we should have you on the ground in exactly eight minutes." Something about the pilot's use of the word "exactly" must have triggered a reaction in my brain, because his remarks initiated a series of calculations: "So how fast are we flying? How high are we flying? What's our angle of descent?" With only eight minutes until touchdown, my curiosity to determine the descending airplane's motion led me to conduct a hastily constructed experiment.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A