Vehicle: Airplane: Airport
Underground airport   (+18, -4)  [vote for, against]

Airports are a huge waste of real-estate and many are not all that attractive to look at either. Also, aeroplanes can now land really accurately (and automatically), using radar guidance so it therefore would be logical to put airports underground, inside huge mountains or cliffs, and let the aeroplanes land on underground runways through neat slots cut in the side of the mountain or cliff.

This would free up the huge amount of surface currently required for airports, and also, if you stack several runways on top of each other, make more efficient use of the airport's interior space.

To preserve the appearance of the mountainside or cliff-face, the access to the runway will be covered by a huge mountain- or cliff-coloured door which will whisk to one side as the aeroplane approaches.
-- hippo, May 13 2009

Kim Jong Il beats ya to it. http://www.timesonl.../article3822538.ece
Haro, Hans Brix [coprocephalous, May 13 2009]

Baked! (.pdf file)
Here you go! Complete blueprints for the project. Just a simple matter of scaling things up I should think. [DrBob, May 13 2009]

I like the idea, kind of baked in Thunderbirds though
-- simonj, May 13 2009

//therefore would be logical to put airports underground//


This sounds like a *very* costly business, [hippo]. I do not disagree with your irrefutable logic though. I suggest that all future airports be built on the flat and, along with the retrofitting of all old airports, they be covered in paper-mâché mountains replicas.

The Himalayas over Heathrow, Mount McKinley on top of JFK, Mount Fuji over London City Airport (can you imagine the city skyline!).
-- Jinbish, May 13 2009

I think I would style subterranean runway exits to look something like arrow slits or USB connection ports rather than hide them. There must be a modern metaphor that could be exploited.
-- Aristotle, May 13 2009

//aeroplanes can now land really accurately// ... and the few that can't... well, fuck them.

Using the accuracy of modern guidance systems (and some disregard for spurious non-accuracy) : How about having the planes land on top of skyscrapers? - The planes would have to aim for the center, then pull up at the last moment, arriving at the top with no appreciable relative velocity, settling softly on some sort of mattress.
-- loonquawl, May 13 2009

And then I suppose a demolition crew arrives so that it can be transported in pieces and assembled elsewhere to take off from a conventional runway.
-- neelandan, May 13 2009

//transported in pieces// of course not. this would be ridiculous. it hops down, gravity-assisted acceleration, avionics-assisted pulling up (need for accuracy here, we will use the ground effect to it's fullest, i suggest ~0.5 meters at closest approach), then continue as usual.
-- loonquawl, May 13 2009

I think the key differentiating feature between this and the Tracy Island approach, is that, because there's a runway inside the mountain, it would work with aeroplanes landing at normal speed, whereas the Thunderbirds came in to land very slowly - it was more like parking in a garage.
-- hippo, May 14 2009

There might be tricky thermals at the interfaces - you may have to employ special heating arrangements in order to make these transversable - if you did it really well, you might be able to 'suck' aircraft into place, actually easing the landing process.

However, that leads to the issue of ventillation and fire avoidance - like those long tunnels through the Alps, were a fire to break out, the funnelling process would quickly turn a modest fire into a blazing inferno.
-- zen_tom, May 14 2009

And I thought landing on an aircraft carrier with the flight simulator was hard.
-- Zimmy, May 14 2009

[Ian] If you were going to do that, you'd have to lower the air pressure in the tunnels. Jets fly at 35,000 feet because it's more efficient flying in more rarefied air.
-- hippo, May 14 2009


" I forsee no problems with this product and/or design "

Is this a pun on "underground railway" ?
-- normzone, May 14 2009

I'm sure that this idea would be much better if it was posted by someone like, ooh, umm, ahh, I don't know, po for example?
-- DrBob, Oct 28 2016

I agree.... If only Po would suggest the exact same idea, but for Heathrow airport, it would be a very popular posting.
-- xenzag, Oct 28 2016

Yes, I agree - posting exactly this idea but making it specific to Heathrow would make it a completely different and much better idea
-- hippo, Oct 29 2016

-- po, Oct 29 2016

//And then I suppose a demolition crew arrives so that it can be transported in pieces and assembled elsewhere to take off from a conventional runway.

Call me pedantic if you will, but is the "it" on line one referring to the runway, or the demolition crew?
-- not_morrison_rm, Oct 29 2016

[n_m_rm], you're pedantic.

-- 8th of 7, Oct 29 2016


The plane.
-- neelandan, Jun 14 2017

" Dee plane, dee plane ! "
-- normzone, Jun 14 2017

random, halfbakery