Title text: No, a hydroplane doesn't land on water--that's an aquaplane. A hydroplane is a plane that gets electric power from an onboard water reservoir with a tiny dam and turbines.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: So far mainly a list. Could be listed better either bullet or in a table.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
The plane in the comic is most likely a Bombardier Q400, a twin-engine regional turboprop with a T-tail as depicted.
The man with the hat asks Cueball to identify the airplane flying overhead. Cueball (or Randall qua the caption), who "assumes" he knows a lot about planes gives a long, nonsensical answer, proving that he does not. As mentioned in the caption he never actually checked if what he thought he knew was fact or fiction. As it turns out it is mainly fiction, but of course with some reference to real planes or vehicles. (Due to the fact the characters are drawn in silhouette it is impossible to determine whether the character with the hat is Black Hat or White Hat or some other character).
- Boeing: Boeing is a company that designs and builds aircraft, although not the Q400. It is one of the best known Aerospace companies in the world, so putting this in front is not a way of displaying any particular knowledge of planes.
- Q404: The reference to Q404 is close to the Q400 but although it is indeed a vessel, it is not a plane but a French submarine captured by Germany during World War II. 404 also refers to an error shown when a specific internet address or file is not found, or as in this case, the plane is not found!
- Twin-engine: Twin-engine refers to aircraft with two engines, so at least Cueball got that right.
- Quad band: Communication equipment that can use 4 different radio frequency bands is called Quad band.
- MiG: MiG is a Russian manufacturer of military aircraft, formerly the Mikoyan-and-Gurevich Design Bureau. However, MIG-380 is a type of welding equipment (metal inert gas, 380V).
- Hybrid vehicle: A Hybrid vehicle is able to use more than one distinct power source. The most common combination is a combustion engine and an electric motor.
- Dual wield: Dual wielding is using two weapons, one in each hand. It is highly unlikely that the aircraft is dual-wielded by its pilot, and it is equally ridiculous to imagine that the plane is dual-wielding anything.
- Mk.: "Mk." (or Mark) is usually used to specify a model number using a Roman numeral.
- IVII : IVII is not a standard number in the Roman numeral system, under standard rules it would be written like VI = 6. On the other hand, it could be a mishmash way of writing "42", (IV = 4, II = 2) which could then make it a reference to the Answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything according to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, something referenced before in xkcd, for instance in 1608: Hoverboard if you got 42 coins. The correct way to say 42 in Roman numerals is XLII.
- Turbo diesel: Turbo diesel engines are sometimes used in aircraft.
- 797: The Boeing 797 has never been produced, but a hoax design has been circulating the Internet since the mid-2000's.
- Hydroplane: A hydroplane either refers to aquaplaning a very undesirable activity of a wheeled vehicle crossing shallow water, or a type of boat for which hydroplaning is the desired mode of travel.
In the title text the concept of hydroplane is mixed up with other concepts, none of which has anything to do with airplanes:
- Aquaplane: An aquaplane is a similar to a short surfboard, on which a person stands while the board is pulled by a speedboat. The correct name for a plane that lands on water (on purpose) is a seaplane.
- Dam and turbines: Powering an aircraft with a miniature hydroelectric dam connected to an on-board reservoir is an absurdity. Hydroelectric plants derive power from the potential energy released by a mass of water as it falls. Because the plane is lifting the water reservoir in addition to its own weight, such a dam could never produce enough power. Ludicrously small hydroelectric power systems were previously considered in what if? "Faucet Power". In 2008, Randall discussed the more reasonable physics problem of whether an airplane would be capable of flight from a treadmill.
Only three weeks prior to this comic, 1660: Captain Speaking was released only with a drawing of a plane in the air, where the captain eventually finds out that his plane is probably a Boeing...
- [Cueball and a man with a hat is seen in silhouette standing on the ground looking towards the sky. A fixed wing aircraft can be seen in the sky, also in silhouette.]
- Man with hat: What's That Airplane?
- Cueball:Oh, That's a Boeing Q404 twin-engine quad-band mig-380 hybrid dual-wield Mk. IVII Turbodiesel 797 Hydroplane.
- [Caption below the panel:]
- I've always assumed I'm one of those people who knows a lot about planes, but I've never actually checked.
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