A system of equations is a collection of two or more equations with the same set of unknowns. In solving a system of equations, we try to find values for each of the unknowns that will satisfy every equation in the system.

The equations in the system can be linear or non-linear. This tutorial
reviews systems of linear equations.

A problem can be expressed in narrative form or the problem can be expressed
in algebraic form.

Let's start with an example stated in narrative form. We'll convert it to an
equivalent equation in algebraic form, and then we will solve it.

**Example 6:**

Two planes start from the same airport and fly in different directions. The
second plane starts one-half hour after the first plane, but its speed is 50
miles per hour faster. Find the ground speed of each plane if 2 hours after
the first plane starts the planes are 2000 miles apart.[Ground speed is the
speed of the plane discounting any wind.]

The distance the first plane traveled plus the difference the second plane
traveled totals 2000 miles. If we let the phrase ''distance the first plane
traveled'' be represented by the symbol and the phrase ''distance
the second plane traveled'' be represented by the symbol
The sentence ''The distance the first plane traveled plus the difference the
second plane traveled totals 2000 miles.'' can be written as

As you know, distance equals the rate time. We have two unknowns the speed of the first plane and the speed of the second plane. Let '' the speed of the first plane'' be represented by the symbol and let ''the speed of the second plane'' be represented by the symbol

The distance the first plane traveled can now be represented by the equation

The distance the second plane traveled can now be represented by the equation

The phrase ''the speed of the second plane is 50 miles per hour faster than the first plane can be represented by the equation

So now you can write the distance equation for plane 2 as

We know that the sum of the distances of the planes from the starting point is 2000.

Let's check our answers.

First Plane: speed time =
Second Plane: speed time =
The sum of the distances is

If you would like to test yourself by working some problem similar to this example, click on
**Problem**.

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**Author**: Nancy Marcus

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