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Modular planes

Mix and match
 
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Often space on peak time flights is heavily rationed while many seats go unused on late night flights. I propose planes made up of modules (one front module, one wing module, one rear module and, optionally, additional modules). This would allow different sized planes for different numbers of passengers, without having to have many different types of aircraft.

(Of course the connections between modules would be sufficiently strong that they wouldn't separate on take-off or landing. There would have to be sufficiently many doors, perhaps one on each side for every six rows.)

simonrose, Apr 08 2003

Containerized Passenger Service http://www.halfbake...Passenger_20Service
related idea by [wiml] [krelnik, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       So they re-build your aircraft just before take-off?
angel, Apr 08 2003
  

       It will not make flying cheaper.
nederhoed, Apr 08 2003
  

       Cargo/passenger convertible versions of many popular airliners exist and have since at least the 1960s. Not sure how long it takes to do a conversion from one to the other or a mixed version but with the "quick change" versions the seats, floors and galleys are on removable pallets.
bristolz, Apr 08 2003
  

       [dag] this is the halfbakery. almost all the ideas here aren't coming anytime soon. that's the point.   

       that said, i take some issue with the idea, [simonrose]. airlines have planes of many different sizes in their fleet, and off-hour flights generally employ smaller aircraft...
urbanmatador, Apr 08 2003
  

       On the other hand, managing and maintaining all those different size planes is one of the reasons the major airlines have trouble remaining profitable. One of the key elements that keeps Southwest Airlines profitable is they only fly one type of plane (Boeing 737) which vastly simplifies training, maintenance, planning, etc.   

       That in mind, perhaps a modular plane would allow an airline to be more profitable while still minimizing training and maintenance costs? Dunno, but its interesting to speculate.
krelnik, Apr 08 2003
  

       The systemic inefficiency is not the size of the plane, but the underutilization of the equipment off-peak.
We once lived near a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins space synergy--one retail location offering different brand product to capitalize on different demands at different times of day.
So why not airplane synergy: United Airlines by day, United Parcel Service by (over)night? American by day, Federal Express by (over)night?
I can't tell by [bristolz] annotation if that is already baked or if bris is advocating the same thing.
roby, Apr 09 2003
  

       Sorry for not being clearer. They exist. The interiors are modular while the airframe remains the same.
bristolz, Apr 09 2003
  

       There's three interpretations here. The most baked is the notion of removing the seats when you have more freight than passengers. The second is the 'Thunderbird 2' concept of different modules used in the same basic airframe. [simonrose]'s idea seems to be an aircraft with a varying *number* of modules, in the same way that a train might have a varying number of carriages, so that the aircraft's length may change according to requirements.
angel, Apr 09 2003
  

       Would *you* fly in something that's been compromised structurally *and* aerodynamically?
thumbwax, Apr 09 2003
  

       To have complete configuration freedom you'd also have to obtain type-certificates from the FAA for every possible combination of modules. Rather more difficult than the internal reconfiguration process referred to by [bristolz].
Don Quixote, Apr 09 2003
  
      
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