PHYS 2211 Module 1 Class Activities

Module 1 Class Activities

On July 23, 1983, Air Canada Flight 143 was being readied for its long trip from Montreal to Edmonton when the flight crew asked the ground crew to determine how much fuel was already onboard the airplane. The flight crew knew that they needed to begin the trip with 22,300 kg of fuel. They knew that amount in kilograms because Canada had recently switched to the metric system; previously fuel had been measured in pounds. The ground crew could measure the on-board fuel only in liters, which they reported as 7,682 L. Thus, to determine how much fuel was on board and how much additional fuel must be added, the flight crew asked the ground crew for the conversion factor from liters to kilograms of fuel. The response was 1.77, which the flight crew used (The flight crew assumed 1.77 kg corresponds to 1 L).

(a)  How many kilograms of fuel did the flight crew think they had?

(b)  How many liters did they ask to be added to the airplane?

Unfortunately the response from the ground crew was based on pre-metric habits – the number 1.77 was actually the conversion factor from liters to pounds of fuel (1.77 lb corresponds to 1 L). (Also 1 lb = 0.454 kg)

(c)  How many kilograms of fuel were actually on board?

(d)  How many liters of additional fuel were actually needed?

On route to Edmonton, at an altitude of 7.9 km, the airplane ran out of fuel and began to fall. Although the airplane then had no power, the pilot somehow managed to put it into a downward glide. However, the nearest working airport was too far to reach by only gliding, so the pilot somehow angled the glide toward an old non-working airport. Unfortunately, the runway at that airport had been converted to a track for race cars, and a steel barrier had been constructed across it. Fortunately, as the airplane hit the runway, the front landing gear collapsed, dropping the nose of the airplane onto the runway. The skidding slowed the airplane so that it stopped just short of the steel barrier, with stunned race drivers and fans looking on. All on board the airplane emerged safely.