A mathematician is flying non-stop from Edmonton to Frankfurt with AirTransat. The scheduled flying time is nine hours.
Some time after taking off, the pilot announces that one engine had to be turned off due to mechanical failure: 'Don't worry - we're safe. The only noticeable effect this will have for us is that our total flying time will be ten hours instead of nine.'
A few hours into the flight, the pilot informs the passengers that another engine had to be turned off due to mechanical failure: 'But don't worry - we're still safe. Only our flying time will go up to twelve hours.'
Some time later, a third engine fails and has to be turned off. But the pilot reassures the passengers: 'Don't worry - even with one engine, we're still perfectly safe. It just means that it will take sixteen hours total for this plane to arrive in Frankfurt.'
The mathematician remarks to his fellow passengers: 'If the last engine breaks down, too, then we'll be in the air for twenty-four hours altogether!'
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