How Tommy Flies His 746 around the World

The Puzzler

RAY: It's a simple algebra problem.

Let's call 'x' the range of a 746 plane.

Let's look at my plane first, the refueling plane. The best I can do for you is to give you a third of my fuel. I'll use a third of the fuel flying right alongside you, and I'll use a third getting back to the island.

I can't give you more than a third of the fuel. Why? Because I wouldn't make it back if I gave you more, and having used only a third of your fuel, you'd have no room for any more than a third of a tank of fuel.

TOM: Exactly. I like it!

RAY: Now, let's call the distance I fly alongside you, Y. The distance I fly back is also Y, and the third of a tank of fuel that I give you lets you fly an additional distance, Y, that gets you to the island. So clearly 3Y equals X. You still with me?

TOM: I'm with you. Keep going!

RAY: So, now we know that X plus Y equals 25,000 miles, right?

And 3Y equals X, so 4Y must equal 25,000 miles. Y then equals 6,250 miles, which is how far I fly alongside you.

X, then, equals 18,750 miles.

Of course, you don't make the island. You miss by a mile. Why? Because I didn't give you all the fuel.

TOM: Thanks. I appreciate that.

RAY: Do we have a winner? The winner is Dick Ottman from Bear Lake, Minnesota. And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Dick is going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at where he can get his Mothers's Day shopping out of the way early.

Would buy your mother something from Car Talk?

TOM: Me? No, because you already gave her one of everything. I'm stuck buying flowers.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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