The Real Dream Liner?

January 11th, 2017 at 1:22:16 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Many new planes and/or plane ideas feature awesome amenities on board, like bars, showers, game rooms, gyms, etc. These things may happen sometimes, look at Emirates, but eventually most such planes simply get packed with as many seats as they'll carry. It's a consequence of basic economics with a relatively scarce (ie expensive) resource.

So what would it take for most airplanes to have lots of passenger amenities and fewer seats?

IMO, very cheap fuel and vertical take-off and landing capability (VTOL for short).

Why the VTOL? To make room for more flights at airports. Imagine any big airport, now imagine if you could use the runway space and much of the taxy way space to park planes instead. You'd triple or quadruple operations easily! Better yet, you might build airports in lots of places where right now you can't.

That probably won't happen any time soon, as VTOL is very fuel-intensive.

Speaking of fuel, current prices are perhaps as low as things will get, unless we find an unexpectedly EFFING BIG new source of oil. For cheaper fuel, you'll need other means of propulsion, like hydrogen fusion. Also not effing likely.

You could use hydrogen in jet engines, sure, but liquid hydrogen takes up a lot of room. remember the external tank in the Space Shuttle, which was bigger than the shuttle itself? Well, 3/4 of that volume was what liquid hydrogen took up. The rest was liquid oxygen. Also liquid hydrogen is a cryogenic fuel, which are a pain to store, and to use as well. There's a reason why ICBMs don't use it, though it is as ideal a rocket fuel as there exists.

So the real dream liner is likely to remain a dream. Which brings up the next logical question: are dreams real?
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 11th, 2017 at 4:30:17 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 49
Posts: 4697
Instead of VTOL how abuot STOL? Of course with steep climbs and noise abatement procedures, many planes are already taking off in a less than safe manner.
January 11th, 2017 at 5:24:48 PM permalink
Dalex64
Member since: Mar 8, 2014
Threads: 2
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VTOL would also require much larger and possibly more engines to carry around all the time, increasing the fuel costs even more.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan
January 11th, 2017 at 6:15:37 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: Dalex64
VTOL would also require much larger and possibly more engines to carry around all the time, increasing the fuel costs even more.


There's a reason why dreams can be so nice, isn't there? :)

VTOL has never made much headway in commercial aviation. I think Boeing tried to do a civilian version of the Osprey tilt-rotor plane/helicopter transport, but I don't recall reading anything came out of it.

If we could make fusion reactors small and safe enough, fuel would take up a literally infinitesimal portion of the plane's weight. The engines would simply compress air and turn it to hot, fast plasma with the reactor's heat.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 12th, 2017 at 12:16:11 PM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: Nareed
VTOL has never made much headway in commercial aviation. I think Boeing tried to do a civilian version of the Osprey tilt-rotor plane/helicopter transport, but I don't recall reading anything came out of it.






You know they have been talking about VTOL for commercial aviation for decades. As a lot of cities are located near oceans, I wonder what kind of structure you could build to aid in VTOL. Could you load 45 people into a Boom aircraft, raise it 50' off the ground and have a short 50 runway that would permit safe takeoffs without hitting the water?

If so, the supersersonic Boom aircraft might have a lot more appeal. You would be coupling the speed of the aircraft with a convenient boarding location nearer to the urban center.
January 12th, 2017 at 12:43:31 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 322
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I wonder how people would react to having a more normal-looking plane be hoisted aloft, say to 500 feet, by a massive helicopter, carried horizontally to about 100 kt, then let loose :)

In the 80s there was an idea for, not making this up, an X-wing fighter. It would have a single jet engine, but instead of wings at the sides, it would have a rigid rotor with four blades on top of the canopy. The engine would drive the rotor for takeoff, then push the plane forward as the rotor locked for flight.

There are many things wrong with that idea, not least is where weapons would be carried absent wings at the sides.

But Star Wars fans would have lined up ten-deep to join the Navy.

Anyway, such a thing might work for a small plane, say a business jet, but not for even a 50-seat regional jet. Still a business jet you could land on a rooftop ought to be really popular among millionaires.

Short takeoff could be easily achieved with JATO rockets, which ought to be scalable to even a monster like the A380. But a long runway is far cheaper in the long run, to everyone, and less polluting to boot.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 13th, 2017 at 3:21:41 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 721
Posts: 8406
Quote: Nareed
I wonder how people would react to having a more normal-looking plane be hoisted aloft, say to 500 feet, by a massive helicopter, carried horizontally to about 100 kt, then let loose :)


I would think badly. Anything involving a heavy lift helicopter is out of the question.

But we had launchers for drones in the Middle East 20 years ago.


January 13th, 2017 at 6:15:17 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 322
Posts: 11112
Quote: Pacomartin
I would think badly. Anything involving a heavy lift helicopter is out of the question.


It could be marketed as a thrill ride :)
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.