Clip-Air – A Revolution In the Mode of Transport of Freight and Passengers

Clip Air Cargo.

Clip Air Cargo. Credit: Clip-Air

Since the Wright Brother’s first flight in 1903, the aviation industry has seen a sea change in terms of speed, flying technology etc. which has brought the world closer. Every year, air traffic is increasing steadily but the fundamental concept hasn’t changed much. Aircraft, airports and the infrastructure required to operate are becoming more and more complicated instead. Also, it has helped climate change by huge CO2 emissions.

Globalisation and needs of today’s market are putting air transport under pressure. Aviation industry has set a target of cutting its CO2 emissions by 50% till the year 2020 which is very ambitious with the percentage rise in air transport.

Clip-Air has proposed a revolutionary concept in the transport of passengers and freight to solve this puzzle. Clip-Air or pod plane was re-evaluated by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) in Switzerland. “Airports have become ever more disconnected, waiting times are becoming longer, traffic levels are increasing, and overloads and delays are increasingly becoming the norm in air travel,” says Claudio Leonardi, in charge of the Clip-Air project.

Clip-Air’s revolutionary air transport concept is – a flying wing which will carry mobile and interchangeable capsules (Like an Eagle carrying a large fish). Clip-Air plane will have a support structure, wings, engines, fuel tanks, and a cockpit but without the passenger cabin or cargo space. On the other hand, there will be the load to be transported either passengers or freight. This will be a capsule exactly like the fuselage of a conventional plane without fuel, gear or any of the other parts and equipment of a plane. The principle behind this is the adoption of the flexibility of rail transport into air transport or ‘to make airports reach all the way into railway stations’ as Clip-Air quotes.

In much simpler way the whole futuristic concept of Clip-Air travel goes like this – A plane lands at an airfield – the underbelly capsule or fuselage or passenger cabin of the aircraft detaches – it effortlessly transferred to a nearby train, and then continues its journey toward its destination in the city center or another city. Looking at this the travel suddenly becomes a one-seat, hassle-free ride. This is the aim of a group of Swiss researchers with the conceptual Clip-Air project.

The researchers’ group website says, “”It would take between 40 and 50 years for Clip-Air to become operational using three capsules – a considerable amount of time.” They plan to develop a prototype size of a private plane in the next five to 10 years, and a more modest-sized prototype that could fit 150 passengers in 10 to 15 years.

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