7
$\begingroup$

Q link: Why is it more fuel-efficient to fly two small aircraft in formation than one big aircraft?

The most upvoted comment is:

I’m voting to close this question because its basic premise about larger vs smaller aircraft is incorrect.

If OP had known, they wouldn't have asked. Answering the why in their question would address that, and the other reasons.

Wrong premise or lack of knowledge is the reason we ask. And AFAIK it's not a reason to close. See: Should we have a new reason for close votes which is "There is an inaccurate statement or a false premise in the question"?

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

I think the problem many people have with this, and other questions that arise from a faulty premise, is the failure to recognize the fault.

For example, instead of asking "why is it more efficient?" a more tolerable phrasing might be "is it more efficient?"

Or conversely, acknowledge the observation, (seat mile calculations) and simply ask what other factors might cause a charter carrier to chose a larger airplane over a smaller one.

But I agree that answers are a good place to debunk any faulty logic in the question. I didn't vote to close, and voted to reopen in the interest of learning something new...

$\endgroup$
1
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ OP here. Thanks for re-opening, I learned something when an answer was posted. $\endgroup$ Aug 18 at 0:02
5
$\begingroup$

I voted to close because of the confusion created by the OP's comment

my calculation is gallons per seat-mile, which factors in speed. It basically means, how much does it cost to transport 1 person 1 mile.

While the conversion uses the speed, the efficiency change with speed is not factored in. Therefore, the question compares aircraft of different sizes and different purposes and at different speeds (possibly also at different altitudes). This is very confusing and does not really allow to draw any meaningful conclusions from such a comparison.

In the end, I agree with you though. These things can all be discussed in an answer, so I voted to re-open the question.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ the efficiency change with speed is not factored in -- I've ran the numbers both ways (OP's way and equal-distance factoring in speed), with the same result, and felt dumb :D though there may be more to it and something to learn. $\endgroup$
    – ymb1
    Aug 16 at 18:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ymb Ceteris Paribus, bigger is more efficient than smaller, & slower is more efficient than faster, & lighter is more efficient than heavier. But when you have the bigger but faster & heavier compared to the smaller but slower & lighter, you're changing too many variables at once to reach any conclusion about only the relationship between bigger/smaller. The 2-seat moped is more efficient than the 4-seat sedan, not because it's smaller but because it's slow & light, and we choose the sedan because we're willing to pay (buy more gas) for comfort, safety, and staying dry when it rains! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 16 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ: Indeed. What I meant – based on how I understood the comment (and remark here) wrt speed – is that getting there faster won't change the numbers OP arrived at. $\endgroup$
    – ymb1
    Aug 16 at 22:05
2
$\begingroup$

The problem I see in that question is that it asks, "Why is (inaccurate statement) true?" The only answer there is, "That isn't true."

There are ways that the question could be re-phrased; the most direct would be along the lines of "What's wrong with my analysis below?" At that point, answers explaining the problem with the comparisons the OP made and the resulting conclusions that he arrived at would be answering the stated question. However, stating the question like that wouldn't be a particularly searchable question/answer for others; at some point "where did my thinking go astray" becomes useful and interesting for an audience of one.

I'd agree that this question isn't quite at that point yet, and if it were to be asked in a way that would be interesting to a decent number of people browsing the board then I'd be okay with that. There is quite a bit wrong with the analysis in the OP, and discussing how & why could be instructive.

But I don't think we do the community any favors by allowing an incorrect assertion to remain in the list of question titles. If the question can be edited to remove the incorrect statement from the title (along with the irrelevancy of "in formation" as others have pointed out) and ask it in a way that "here's where the analysis went off track" does answer the stated question, then I'd be good with reopening it. As things stand right now, however, I don't think it's there yet.

$\endgroup$
6
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ incorrect statement from the title -- but the title is in question form, so it can't be a correct or false statement; it's a question to be answered, right? Maybe not the best, but still answerable. Anyway, I do appreciate your input and seeing your POV in detail. In the meantime I'll try to come up with a better title that retains the why, as is (yes/no) questions are rarely interesting. $\endgroup$
    – ymb1
    Aug 16 at 20:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 "Why do pigeons weight more than eagles?" is in question form, but it posits incorrect info. To the uninformed, seeing that question title, with up-votes & answers, may lead them to conclude (if they're too lazy to read the answers -- never happens right?) that pigeons do weigh more than eagles. That's, imho, unhelpful to leave out there. Editing that into, "Do fledglings weigh less than adult pigeons?" or something similar, removes the incorrect assertion but leaves the question & discussion intact. If you can find that sort of edit here, I'll concur. (Agree y/n = uninteresting) $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 16 at 20:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I gave it a go, see now please, and thanks again. $\endgroup$
    – ymb1
    Aug 16 at 21:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ymb1. I'm good with that. Looks like I was #5; it's open again. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 16 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ "If the question can be edited to remove the incorrect statement from the title..." Would that not be a more considerate action to do than closing the question and waiting for someone else to edit it? Anybody with enough rep can edit questions. $\endgroup$
    – Koyovis
    Aug 24 at 6:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Koyovis ymb1 came up with a good edit to the title. Nothing I was coming up with was particularly good; I didn't like any of the ideas I had enough to say that they'd be worth editing in & trying to re-open. Thus, the "if somebody can..." statement -- I figured it might be possible to have a good edit, but I didn't have one myself. But ymb1 did -- good enough that 5 of us voted to reopen the question with his edit to it. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 26 at 21:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .