Suppose a pilot flies 40.0 km in a direction 60º north of east and then flies 30.0 km in a direction 15º north of east as shown in Figure 3.61. Find her total distance R from the starting point and the direction θ of the straight-line path to the final position. Discuss qualitatively how this flight would be altered by a wind from the north and how the effect of the wind would depend on both wind speed and the speed of the plane relative to the air mass.
The pilot’s displacement is characterized by 2 vectors, A and B, as depicted in Figure 3.61. To determine her total displacement R from the starting point, we need to add the two given vectors. To do this, we individually get the x and y components of each vector. This is presented in the table that follows:
The table above indicates east and north as positive components, while west and south indicates negative components. The last row is the sum of the components. This is also the x and y components of the resultant vector.
To calculate the magnitude of the resultant, we simply use the Pythagorean Theorem as follows:
The direction of the resultant is calculated as follows:
Therefore, the pilot’s resultant displacement is about 64.7847 km directed 40.9° North of East from the starting island.
If the wind speed is less than the speed of the plane, it is possible to travel to the northeast, but she will travel more to the east than without the wind. If the wind speed is greater than the speed of the plane, then it is no longer possible for the plane to travel to the northeast, it will end up travelling southeast.