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Powered rail taxiway

Save fuel while queuing for take-off
  [vote for,

When a commercial airliner is at the gate, its onboard systems are connected to the airport’s power source. But once it leaves the gate and taxis to the runway, it’s running its own engines for power. Delays on the taxiway waste fuel and are a significant source of pollution (link).

So instead of taxiing under their own power, they should be towed along a rail built into the taxiway, that could also supply electricity for the plane’s electricals from the airport’s power grid. It wouldn’t start its own engines until it was ready for takeoff, reducing the amount of idle time and fuel burned.

a1, Oct 02 2021

inspiration for this idea https://www.faa.gov...fuel-burn-taxi-time
New Software Gets Planes Rolling Directly to Runway, Reducing Fuel Burn & Taxi Time [a1, Oct 02 2021]

Engine runup https://en.wikipedi...i/Run-up_(aviation)
[a1, Oct 04 2021]

AGUS https://commons.era...ongress-proceedings
Really long extension cords. Very wordy report but lots of pictures too! [a1, Oct 04 2021]

MagSafe charging cable https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MagSafe
Or this? [Frankx, Oct 05 2021]

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       Contine the rail up a ramp on pylons so the engines don't need to start until after takeoff
pocmloc, Oct 02 2021

       A really quite reasonable, sensible idea.   

       ...on Halfbakery?   

Frankx, Oct 02 2021

       Sorry for being sensible and not especially funny. [pocmloc]’s suggested addition may overlap with some other HB ideas already linked in this category - like electric assisted takeoff, roller coaster takeoff - but make it more exciting.
a1, Oct 02 2021

       + Sensible isn’t half bad!
xandram, Oct 03 2021

       Nice idea. I think purely for visual appeal, I’d prefer a solution in which aeroplanes had pantographs mounted on the top to collect power from overhead power cables, as trains and trams do. Actually, why can’t the tail fin of the aeroplane do this?

A variation of this would be to have a wire mesh ceiling covering most of the airport such that the aeroplanes could pick up power from it using the same approach as dodgems or ‘bumper cars’.

The logical endpoint of [pocmloc]’s idea is installing airports with truly massive versions of the catapults they use on aircraft carriers to get planes airborne.
hippo, Oct 03 2021

       Overnight I was going the other way, from cool looking to dull. To make this work with the least amount of redesign on the aircraft, I figured the rail system would uses tractor, Each with a tow- hook to pull the plane along, and an electric cable to power the plane’s on board system.
a1, Oct 03 2021

       //To make this work with the least amount of redesign on the aircraft// - I fear that the powerful and influential pantograph lobby will be knocking on your door…
hippo, Oct 03 2021

       // the powerful and influential pantograph lobby will be knocking on your door… //   

       That’s okay. I have some neat ideas for baggage handling, loading and unloading, that might interest them.
a1, Oct 03 2021

       I think several ideas here were on this line, and afair they were knocked down by the pros as patented baked and will all be operational in the near future before 2003.
pashute, Oct 03 2021

       Doing a little small plane piloting in my past I know that you also use the taxi procedure to test your engines by revving them up. All airports also already have those little cars that tow them so if the fuel issue is worth addressing you could probably just start using them.
doctorremulac3, Oct 04 2021

       //you also use the taxi procedure to test your engines// - that makes sense; I can see how waiting until you’re actually airborne before finding out that your engines don’t work might be a bad thing
hippo, Oct 04 2021

       // engine test //   

       Yes, but a commercial airliner don’t run that test all the way from the gate to the runway. And as big jets being different from small planes, commercial airports often have a special area set aside for runup (link),   

       // All airports also already have those little tow vehicles //   

       Yes, those. The point of the powered rail system is to also provide electricity to the plane’s system when the engine isn’t driving a generator, same as at the gate. Think of the rail as a really long extension cord.
a1, Oct 04 2021

       Good point - you could just use a really long extension cord, which unplugs (hopefully) when the aeroplane is airborne
hippo, Oct 04 2021

       // ... use a really long extension cord, which unplugs (hopefully) when the aeroplane is airborne //   

       Easy enough - NASA put decades of study into detaching long extension cords at takeoff. (link)
a1, Oct 04 2021

       *ahem* …Apple MagSafe [link]   

       Or how about inductive charging loops the length of the runway and taxiway/stands   

       Of course, with electric flight imminent, this might actually be a real thing.
Frankx, Oct 05 2021


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