Vectors and Projectiles - Mission VP3 Detailed Help

A pilot wishes to fly from airport A to airport B. Airport B is located due south from airport A. The pilots aircraft averages a speed of 160 mi/hr. If the pilot is flying in a wind which blows out of the west at a speed of 40 mi/hr, then the pilot should head his plane in the direction of vector ...

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Many times the key to answering a difficult physics question correctly is having an effective strategy. In a Vectors unit, the strategy will almost always involve careful reading (or rereading) of the question and the use of diagram. Here is a suggested strategy:
  • Construct a diagram with airports A and B clearly labeled. Make sure B is in the proper direction relative to A.
  • Draw a vector arrow from airport A to airport B. Label this arrow Resultant. This arrow represents the resultant of the required plane velocity vector plus the wind velocity vector.
  •  Now draw the wind velocity vector in its proper direction (either northward or southward) such that its arrowhead ends at airport B. It's magnitude should be roughly one-fourth to one-fifth the distance between A and B. Label this vector Wind.
  • Now draw in the plane velocity vector with its tail starting at airport A and its arrowhead finishing at the tail of the wind velocity vector. This vector represents the approximate direction of the required plane velocity. Now you can choose the answer that best matches your sketch.
  • What have you just done? You have sketched a vector addition diagram. You have shown how the plane velocity (answer) plus the wind velocity add together to result in the plane flying from airport A to airport B.