Piggy-Back Plan To Beat Heathrow Congestion

By London_Duncan Last edited 111 months ago
Piggy-Back Plan To Beat Heathrow Congestion
t5flightsdoubled02.jpg

Note for confused folk stumbling across this article...it's an old April Fool's gag from 2008.

With the situation showing little sign of improvement at the brand new T5, London's aviation bosses are keen to turn the public's attention to plans for dealing with the real elephant in the Heathrow departure lounge - the traffic congestion caused by still only having two runways. Yesterday saw the first test of a solution that could be in commercial use as early as next year. The bold plan seeks to double potential runway capacity by using long-haul aircraft to carry smaller planes "piggy-back" style out of West London. The smaller craft later detaches in mid-air and glides down to its destination, a technique pioneered by NASA for its space shuttle tests thirty years ago, but only recently sanctioned for civilian operations.

Auspiciously at 7:47am local time an Air India jumbo set off down Heathrow's northern runway bound for Digha in Western Bengal. Strapped to its back was an Air France freighter on its way to Monaco. Both planes had experienced test crews aboard plus a number of personnel from interested parties, including freelance aircraft technician Noah Way from Hoxton who was an observer on the Monte Carlo flight. Two hours later, over the Mediterranean Sea, he witnessed the historic detachment:

All the way over the French pilots had been pulling our legs about how rough it would be, but when it came to it there was a bit of a 'clunk' and then just a wonderfully quiet and serene coast down into Monaco. I think passengers are going to love it.

Public relations officer Jo Kissoniou was quick to point out that the solution also has strong green credentials:

The short-haul flight gliding down to its destination will lead to significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions from burning aviation fuel.

Groups concerned about noise pollution have given the proposals a cautious welcome so long as they are accompanied by an overall reduction in powered take-offs, but government representatives are believed to be locked in meetings with aviation officials over whether or not airport taxes can be levied on a plane that is not becoming airborne under its own propulsion. With more tests planned in the coming weeks to destinations such as Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong and Nicosia International in Cyprus participating airlines are looking forward to a welcome reduction in their April fuel bills.

Last Updated 01 April 2008

Parfifty

What foolishness.

Parfifty

Foolishness.

eas_e

Had no idea this was possible. Still can't really figure out how it works, but potentially very cool.

coolSpider1

Check the date!!!

eas_e

doh!

looneycrumpet

Ah, it all tweaked with the mention of Kai Tak Airport - that's been firmly shut for more than 10 years!

coolSpider1

Yes and Digha in West Bengal in India, doesnt have an airport! The neareast airstrip being Calcutta, which is not connected with Heathrow!
Nice make up though!

pandmc74

Not to mention the "April fuel" bills...

delara

Oh, what fun! Getting to ride in a plane on top of another plane. That sounds like my idea of safe.

Sigh.