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Airline Air-lift

Reduce Flight costs by using balloon transport to bring the cabin to an aircraft already at cruising altitude.
  [vote for,

I'm assuming that a significant part of the expense of airline travel is the takeoff and landing of the aircraft.

I thought it might be cheaper to have a blimp-type vessel with the cabin attachted to it bring the passengers and cargo to cruising altitude. There an aircraft, already in motion, would hook onto the cabin and transport it horizontally.

Once it arrives at its destination, the aircraft detatches, and the cabin will descend.

At cruising speed, modern aircraft use considerably less fuel than slower speeds of flight. Furthermore, they can easily pick up and drop off cabins -- so they don't waste time taking off and landing.

Hot-air technology is a safe way to fly. The reason the Hindenberg went down in flames was because *the material* caught on fire. Non-pressurized hydrogen will not burn because it is so light, it escapes into space before it has a chance to react. You can design a balloon with several 'pockets' so that even if one, two, or three develop leaks, the craft as a whole is still light enough to make a safe landing.

However, ballon flight is so slow for moving across distances, no one uses it. Here, we are only using it to move up and down, which is inefficient with aircraft.

lawpoop, Dec 19 2003

Fulton g2a recovery system (Skyhook) http://en.wikipedia...air_recovery_system
No, really, this thing actually works [Alterother, Aug 12 2011]

Fast zeppelins are possible! Stratospheric_20Solar_20Power_20Collector
This Idea includes mention of supersonic zeppelins [Vernon, Aug 12 2011]


       I'm having a hard time imagining a jet at cruising speed (500 mph/800 kph) snagging the cabin off a stationary balloon without killing everyone on board. Alternately, how do you get a huge dirigible up to the cruising speed of a jet so they can pull up next to each other?   

       If the dirigible comes along for the ride with the cabin, I think you are going to have some significant drag issues.
krelnik, Dec 19 2003

       Hm, those are some good points.   

       Maybe the aircraft could slow down to hook the cabin?   

       Then, you could have the dirigible deflate for the h-journey?
lawpoop, Dec 19 2003

       Have the jet lower a long (1mile?) bungee rope with a hook at the end. The hook needs a little stabilizing device for better aiming. The hook catches the passenger cabin and gives everyone the ride of their life while the rope is slowly wound up into the jet.
kbecker, Dec 19 2003

       You could have two aircraft pass each other while traveling in opposite directions grab a tether line resulting in a stable rotational pattern.   

       The balloon would then land in the center of the tether upon which not one but two gondolas would be dispatched from the balloon traveling in opposite directions along the tether carrying passengers, cargo, replacement crew & fuel.
Anarchist, Jan 15 2004

       no links to patents or videos of this idea? Was it unique in 2003? Is it still so? No equivalent in HB?!
pashute, Aug 12 2011

       Perhaps this could employ some kind of large-scale version of the already-baked Skyhook system. >linky<
Alterother, Aug 12 2011


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