Traffic Cops for Planes

Ever see a plane fly overhead? Almost 100,000 flights take off every day in the U.S. alone! Somebody has to keep them out of each other’s way. Air traffic controllers sit in the tower at the airport and talk by radio to tell all the pilots where to fly. And on the super-cool website, you can see on the map what planes are flying right over your head right now!

Wee ones: If 6 planes are lining up to land in New York, and then 1 more flies in line behind them, how many are there now?

Little kids: The busiest travel day this month was supposed to be Dec. 23. If today is Dec. 26, how many days ago was that?  Bonus: If there are 10 planes on the ground, then 3 planes land, then 6 take off, and then 8 new ones land, how many planes are on the ground now?

Big kids: If a plane jumps on the screen every 2 seconds, and takes 30 little jumps to cross the map, how long can you watch it “fly” across?  Bonus: If planes land on each of 2 runways every 5 minutes, how many planes do those air traffic guys handle from 2:00 to 4:01 pm, if the first ones land at 2 on the dot?

Wee ones: 7 planes.

Little kids: 3 days ago.  Bonus: 15 planes: you have 10, then 13, then 7, then 15.

Big kids: 60 seconds (1 minute).  Bonus: 50 planes. Each runway lands one with each of the 12 5-minute chunks in the 1st hour, then the same thing in the second hour, plus the very first at 2 pm (at the start of the first 5-minute chunk). So that’s 12 + 12 + 1, or 25 flights per runway.

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