Posts tagged ‘plane’

Book Review: Flightmares by Robert D. Reed

FlightmaresBob Reed is likely one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s certainly one of the nicest guys in the publishing industry. And he is absolutely, positively the nicest guy to have published Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks.

Bob has now written his own book of jokes, Flightmares: Sky-High Humor. Chock full of zingers about pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, travel, and aerodynamics, Flightmares does for flying what Jaws did for swimming.

The following are just a few of the gems you’ll find inside:

Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man… landing is the first!

“Why is the mistletoe hanging over the luggage counter?” asked the airline passenger, amid the holiday rush.
The clerk replied, “It’s so you can kiss your luggage good-bye!”

I think my favorite jokes are the ones that could appear in a math joke book, with a little revision. Like this one, which I’ve heard in reference to a mathematician instead of a pilot:

What’s the difference between God and an airline pilot?
God doesn’t think He’s a pilot.

Or this one, if you replace flight attendants on an airplane with a math teacher in a geometry class:

What kind of chocolate should flight attendants hand out on airplanes?
Plane chocolate, of course.

And there’s even one that could be used in a math joke book directly:

Gunter’s Second Law of Air Travel: The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of the coffee.

What more can I tell you about Flightmares? Just like passengers on a jet that’s lost all four engines, it’s a scream! Well worth the price for some light summer reading.

To learn more about Flightmares, or for quantity discounts, visit Robert D. Reed Publishers. To purchase individual copies, visit Amazon.

May 26, 2017 at 5:56 am Leave a comment

Math Travel Riddle

My wife has been traveling a lot recently. She’s been to Savannah, Miami, San Antonio, and Amsterdam — all in the past month. Reminds me of a riddle.

What travels around the world but always stays in a corner?
A stamp.

She had a strange encounter at one of the airports.

One of her flights was cancelled, and many inconvenienced passengers were being rebooked by just one agent. An angry passenger pushed to the front and said, “I have to be on the next flight, and I have to fly first class!”

“I’m sorry,” said the agent. “You’ll have to get in line and wait your turn.”

“Do you know who I am?” the man asked.

The agent grabbed the microphone and said, “Attention, ladies and gentleman, there’s a passenger here who doesn’t know who he is. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 43.”

The man glared at the agent and shouted, “F**k you!”

“I’m sorry, sir,” the agent replied. “You’ll have to wait in line for that, too.”

While talking about her trips, the boys were intrigued that she would get home just 3 hours after leaving the Netherlands: her flight departed Amsterdam at 11 a.m. and arrived in Washington, DC, at 2 p.m.

That leads me to your challenge for today, if you choose to accept it:

Describe a trip in which you arrive to your destination at the same time you left.

I think that’s a great Common Core classroom problem, because there is an unlimited number of possible solutions. Many solutions are correct — as long as students are asked to justify their answer, of course.

The following travel joke is your reward for solving that challenge. (You did solve it, didn’t you?)

A professor and a grad student were returning to New York from a conference in Puerto Rico. But fog forced the plane to divert to Washington, DC. As the grad student passed the cockpit, he complained to the pilot, “A little bit of fog never stopped a train from getting to its destination.”

“That’s right, John,” said the professor to the student. “And the next time you want to go from New York to San Juan, you should definitely take the train.”

February 14, 2014 at 1:57 am 2 comments

Top Flight Math Jokes

I’ve used the following joke as the opening for many local presentations:

I’m so thankful that I was able to drive here this morning. I’ve been flying a lot for work recently, and last week I had a really horrible flight. I had just finished four long days at a math conference, and I was exhausted when I boarded the plane. We took off, and as soon as we levelled out, I put my head back and closed my eyes.

And then… a thud.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a thud while on an airplane, but I didn’t particularly like it. Immediately, the pilot’s voice came over the loudspeaker. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I know you heard that sound, and I want to assure you that everything is all right. We’ve lost an engine, but we can still safely make it to our destination with the three remaining engines. However, instead of the flight taking 3 hours, it will now take 4 hours.”

This was unsettling, but after 20 minutes of smooth flying, I closed my eyes once more.


Again, the pilot’s voice. “Ladies and gentlemen, it appears we’ve lost a second engine. Let me assure you, we will still make it to our final destination safely, but instead of 4 hours, it will now take 6 hours.”

We then flew smoothly for another 30 minutes… but I was unwilling to close my eyes again.


“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve lost a third engine. We can make it safely with just one engine, but it will now take us 12 hours to reach our final destination.”

Upon hearing this, the guy next to me leaned over and said, “My gosh! I sure hope we don’t lose that fourth engine, or we’ll be up here all day!”

I use that joke because I think it’s funny, but also because it allows me to ask this question: “Consider the pattern. When there were 4 engines in use, the flight was supposed to take 3 hours. When reduced to 3 engines, the flight time increased to 4 hours. Just 2 engines, 6 hours. Only 1 engine, 12 hours. If the pattern continued, what length of time would correspond to 0 engines?”

The joke can serve as a lead-in to inverse variation, and I rather like the answer. With 0 engines, the duration would be infinity. And isn’t that appropriate? If the plane crashes, you won’t reach your final destination for all of eternity!

Speaking of planes, Skyscanner recently conducted a survey about air travel preferences. According to their study, flyers think that 6A is the perfect seat. That shouldn’t be shocking… a perfect seat has to be in Row 6, doesn’t it?

Forty-five percent of respondents said they prefer to sit in the first six rows, and 60% said they prefer the window, so it makes sense that 6A would come out the winner. But there were some surprising results from this survey:

  • Nearly 7% said they would choose to sit in the last row. (Really? What kind of person prefers a non-reclining seat by the bathroom?)
  • Approximately 62% of respondents said they prefer an even seat number. (Who knew that parity played a role?)
  • The worst seat? That distinction belongs to 31E, a middle seat near the back.
  • Frequent flyers prefer the left side of the plane. (“Why,” you ask? Because the windows on that side of the plane are off-center, which allows for wall space to rest your head while sleeping.)
  • Less than 1% prefer the middle seat. (The surprising part is that anyone prefers the middle seat.)

My guess is that people who prefer the middle seat also think median is better than mode. I assume this result was a statistical error, however. My suspicion is that they asked the preference of two people simultaneously; one responded, “I prefer the aisle seat,” another responded, “I prefer the window seat,” and the survey taker wrote, “On average, these two people prefer the middle seat.”

Recently, I was in seat 6A during an international flight. Halfway home, the entire flight crew got ill from the food. The pilot and co-pilot passed out, so the flight attendants began asking if anyone could fly the plane.

An elderly gentleman, who had flown prop planes over Warsaw many years ago, raised his hand. When he got to the cockpit, he looked at all the displays and controls, and he realized he was in over his head. The flight attendant noticed the look on his face and asked if he was okay. “I don’t think I can fly this aircraft,” he said. “I am just a simple Pole in a complex plane.”

May 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm 1 comment

Flight of Fancy

Several weeks ago, after my team won the 2011 Grand Masters National Championship in Ultimate Frisbee (sorry, I just couldn’t resist saying that again), a teammate and I headed to the Dayton airport. The plane that was to take us to Dulles had a mechanical problem, though, so our flight, originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m., was delayed until 10:55 p.m. The following diagram sums up what it feels like to be stuck in the Dayton airport for four extra hours with only a Cinnabon to provide solace:

Wrong Place - Venn Diagram

Then last night, after spending four days at the NCTM Interactive Institute for High School Mathematics, I headed to the Orlando airport. This flight was similarly delayed, though weather was the culprit this time. Although delayed only two hours, we departed too late to arrive to Reagan National before the airport curfew. Consequently, we were diverted to Baltimore-Washington International, where we could wait over an hour for a bus to drive us 75 minutes to Reagan National Airport, at which point we’d be dropped off at a closed airport and left to fend for ourselves. (Reagan National closes at midnight, and the DC Metro trains stop running at midnight.)

So I shared a cab with a pleasant young lady who lives near me in Virginia, and after sitting in a construction zone for 35 minutes and driving 46 miles, I finally arrived home. The picture below shows the taxi meter upon arrival. This is the greatest amount (by a lot) that I have ever seen on a taxi meter.

Taxi Meter

You might also notice the clock at the bottom of the picture. I arrived home at 1:25 a.m., only to be awoken at 6:56 a.m. to the sound of my Golden Retriever getting sick. Nothing says, “Welcome home!” quite like a nice pile of yellow doggy vomit on the bedroom carpet.

For my next trip, I plan to drive. 

On the upside, at least I wasn’t stuck behind this guy:

When a statistician passed through the airport security checkpoint, officials discovered a bomb in his bag. He explained, “According to statistics, the probability of a bomb being on an airplane is 1/1000. Consequently, the chance that there are two bombs on one plane is 1/1,000,000, so I feel much safer if I bring one myself.” 

August 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

Questions and Answers

I’ve been teaching my sons how to tell time on an analog clock. The following is a recent conversation:

Me: The little hand is the hour hand, and the big hand is the minute hand.
Eli: What’s the third hand for?
Me: That’s the second hand.
Alex: Why is the third hand called the second hand?

I had no idea how to respond.Fibonacci Clock

Here are some questions that I’ve been asked recently for which I did know to respond…

How good are you at algebra?
Vary able.

Why is simplifying a fraction like powdering your nose?
It improves appearance without changing the value.

What do you get when you cross geometry with McDonald’s?
A plane cheeseburger.

June 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm 3 comments

About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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