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X and the City by John A. Adam

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Chapter 2

GETTING TO THE CITY

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X = y: BY PLANE

Before we can explore mathematics in the city, we need to get there. The fastest way is to fly, so let’s hop on a plane. If we assume that the descent flight path occurs in the same vertical plane throughout (i.e., no circling before touchdown—which is very rare these days), then the path is quite well represented by a suitably chosen cubic function [5], as we will see below. Here are some further conditions we impose prior to setting up a mathematical model for the path:

(i) The horizontal airspeed dx/dt = U is constant throughout the descent. This is somewhat unrealistic, but we’ll work with ...

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