Saturday, July 9, 2016

This awesome plane-train hybrid could revolutionize transportation, but not for another 50 years

Imagine a future where a plane lands at an airfield that doubles as a rail yard. The cabin — one of three that cling to the underbelly of the aircraft like a baby possum to its mother — detaches, is seamlessly transferred to a nearby train, and then continues its journey toward the city center. Your multi-seat trip (taxi-to-subway-to-airtrain) from home to hotel suddenly becomes a one-seat, hassle-free ride. That’s the aim of a consortium of Swiss researchers with the conceptual Clip-Air, a bold-looking plane-train hybrid that despite its high-minded possibilities, will probably never get made.

In essence, Clip-Air is a modular aircraft in four parts. There are three cabins, or capsules, which can carry passengers, freight, or fuel....

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