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Problems > Loony Physics > 2015

Mars Hill Wind Farm

I was driving through northern Maine with a couple of my Physics students, and we passed by the wind farm in Mars Hill.  "I wonder," one of them said, "how fast the tip of one of those turbine blades is going."

"I wonder," the other one said, "how far we'd fly if we hung on to the blade until it was at its highest point, and then let go."

"Let's figure it out!" I said.

So we did a bit of research, and a bit of estimation.  Here's what we found:

  • Based on doing the 1001-1002-10003 count that you resort to when you don't have a stop watch handy, we concluded that it took about 8 seconds for the turbine to do a complete revolution.
  • The height of the turbine tower is 262 feet.
  • The length of the turbine blade is 115 feet.

So...how long would my students go flying if they let go at the blade's highest point?

 



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Elmer Fudd's Rocket Launcher

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