I was wrong. It's quite refreshing to be wrong, but hopefully I don't become addicted to the feeling.
So why have I gone complete 180? How will the Airplane take off? It's all bout the Forces baby! Really forces acting on forces or rather forces that don't counteract forces, or something...involving hamsters? OK even that wasn't good enough for me to understand it. Apparently I'm a visual thinker and through the fine art skills of a friend of mine (Jeff) at work, he helped me see the light. Here's what he shared with me:
So what's going on in this image? First, you have the usual suspects, the plane, the treadmill, but what you don't have is the planes engines. Instead of those Jeff has substituted the engines for a crane on wheels. The crane is what provides the forward force to move the plane. By now everyone reading this who was thinking there was no way for the plane to move forward is smacking their forehead with their palm, don't deny it, I can hear the smack from here, it's OK, I did it too.
The best part of this diagram is it's simplicity, you don't have to understand the physics at work here to just know immediately that no matter how fast the planes wheels are spinning against that treadmill when that crane moves forward, so is that plane. For a final kicker, imagine the plane doesn't have wheels at all, but rather it's a hovercraft and it starts making even more sense. Oh the huge manatee!
Jeff, thank you, the world owes you a debt of gratitude, and so do I. Perhaps the Internet might actually be able to put this one to bed? I await your comments!