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Entries in airport of the future (6)

Saturday
May072011

Urban Airport of the Future (1926)

The fine people at Popular Mechanics recently published a book that deserves a prominent place on every retrofuturist's bookshelf. The Wonderful Future That Never Was by Gregory Benford looks at technological predictions that appeared in the pages of Popular Mechanics from 1903 until 1969. The prediction below was an attempt to address what was seen as an inevitable problem; how to land personal aircraft in busy cities. The solution here was to erect a gigantic landing port supported atop four skyscrapers.

Since the airplane has become a factor in commerce, the question of suitable landings within city areas has grown in importance. One plan calls for an immense stage to be erected on top of four skyscraper towers, to span 1,400 square feet. The entire platform can handle 80,000 passengers and 30,000 tons of freight yearly.

 

Sunday
Jun272010

Supersonic Jet Set May Land at Sea (1967)

As I type these words from the relative comfort of a chair 30,000 feet in the sky, I can't help but marvel at the incredible advancements aviation has made in the last hundred years. Being connected to the internet is but just one thing airline passengers now take for granted as humanity's ability to move from place to place and communicate has not only become easier but, probably most importantly, less expensive.

Today we have an image from the April 23, 1967 Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA) that accompanied an article imagining a "sea airport" or Sea Sky Terminal (SST) of the future. Some of the benefits listed in the article appear below.

Proponents of the dream terminal say that, among other things, it would:

1. Eliminate the danger of huge aircraft landing in congested areas.

2. Eliminate the noise associated with major airports.

3. Eliminate freeway and street congestion caused by ever-increasing numbers of air travelers trying to get in and out of major terminals.

4. Eliminate property problems, such as occurred in Los Angeles recently when that city had to purchase 400 omes in order to make room for a new runway for International Airport.

The sea airport of the future, engineers say, could be served by underwater subways and high-speed airfoil vessels. Helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and flying buses would link the seagoing airstrip with satellite airports in other cities, by-passing the freeways.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Wednesday
Nov122008

Jetscalator (1960)


Reader Tom Z sent in this March 27, 1960 edition of Closer Than We Think, featuring the "Jetscalator." Tom explains:

This CTWT has held special significance for me (and anyone else who has used Dulles until quite recently). I haven’t flown in years, but I understand that the famous “Mobile Terminals” are finally gone, a case of a futuristic idea that didn’t work all that well in the real world.

The handful of times that I've been through the Dulles airport I've felt that I was going to miss my flight because of those slow moving shuttles. I hadn't heard that they might be doing away with the mobile lounges. Can anyone confirm that this is true?

 

The text from "Jetscalator" appears below:

Jet planes and the number of passengers they carry are getting bigger and bigger. Distances between terminals and loading docks are getting longer. The answer is a traveling waiting room with a moving ramp. Such a project is already being developed by the Chrysler Corporation, and it may be used at the new Washington, D.C., terminal now being designed by Eero Saarinen.

 

The "jetscalator," as it might be called, would move on wheels higher than a man.

It would have an up-or-down ramp and capacity for about 100 people. When departure time is at hand, travelers wouldn't have to stir from their chairs - they'd be transported in the "jetscalator" right to the side of the plane.

Next week: Cellar-size Scoopers



Read more:
Luggage Blowers (1961)
Airport of the Future (1967)
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)
Passenger Air Travel (1945)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)

 

Thursday
May222008

Luggage Blowers (1961)


Given the recent American Airlines decision to charge for your first checked bag, it seemed appropriate to look at this Closer Than We Think strip from the February 12, 1961 Chicago Tribune.

I fly out on US Airways tomorrow morning and would much rather be paying the extra 15 bucks.

Luggage Blowers

 

As our airliners increase their speeds, a greater proportion of total travel time is required for getting luggage off planes and into the hands of passengers. This problem is being intensively studied, and new methods of speedier handling are being researched.

One suggestion involves the use of aluminum containers floated on air cushions created by low-pressure jets. The next logical step would be the elimination of the containers themselves. Then just the luggage would be floated along ramps - faster than incoming passengers could walk to the baggage claim section.

Next week: Space Traffic Cop


See also:
Closer Than We Think! Throw-Away Clothes (1959)
Airport of the Future (1967)
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)
Passenger Air Travel (1945)

 

Wednesday
Apr302008

Passenger Air Travel (1945)


The cover of the March, 1945 issue of Popular Science shows a streamlined bubble-top bus onto which passengers deplane. If we notice the less fantastic predictions of this illustration, (specifically, widespread passenger air travel), we find that this vision was largely realized.

See also:
Airport of the Future (1967)
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)

Tuesday
Aug212007

Airport of the Future (1967)

Since I was stuck at Chicago's O'Hare Airport all day, here's an article from the December 1, 1967 European edition of Stars and Stripes, which describes the airport of the future.


An architect says he has an answer to the complaint that the longest and hardest part of a trip often is getting from home to the airport.

Martin Schaffer, chairman of the board of an airplane architectural firm, envisions "containerized" passengers transported from near their homes to the plane and then to their destinations without leaving the seats in which they started.

Schaffer, who served as project coordinator on construction of O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, says new airport facilities will be obsolete before they leave the drawing board unless some drastic changes are made.

"Airlines already have enough equipment in the air and on order to swamp every airport in the country by 1970," he said.

"Getting through traffic to the airport, and the handling of passengers and their baggage becomes more of a problem daily," Schaffer said, "but with plans for 500 and 750-passenger planes to go into service in the next few years our airports will become chaotic."

Schaffer emphasized that bigger airports with more buildings are not the answer.

Shaffer's airport of the future has no large terminal buildings but consists mainly of runways for jets and circular landing pads for vertical takeoff planes. These planes are in the design stage, Shaffer said, and resemble helicopters except that they go faster and are propelled by rotating engines instead of blades.

Shaffer said long, tiring drives to the airport followed by parking problems, long ticket lines, baggage check-in lines and then the long walk to the boarding area would be eliminated by his new transport system.

Shaffer foresees passengers with their baggage boarding a "pod" from gathering points in the area serviced by the airport, Shaffer explained that the pods would be car-like compartments running on monorails through tunnels like an underground system or on an air cushion.

Several pods, carrying about 75 passengers each, would be scheduled for a specific flight, Shaffer said, and after picking up the passengers at designated stops, would go directly to the field.

Instead of seats for passengers, planes would consist of a large frame in which the pods would be inserted, the way baggage compartments are insterted into a frame now, Shaffer said.

The pods could be detached from the air frame upon landing and could carry the passengers to different points at their destination, he said.

"We've got the technology to build this type of system within the next 15 years," Shaffer said.

See also:
Commuter Helicopter (1947)