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NASA aims to launch system of 'micro jets' to supplant big jetliners
South Florida Sun-Sentinel ^ | December 26 2002 | Ken Kaye

Posted on 12/27/2002 8:26:38 AM PST by gubamyster

By Ken Kaye Staff Writer Posted December 26 2002

Within the next few years, you may be able to avoid big airport hassles by taking tiny jets from one small airfield to another.

The cost would be close to that of a coach seat.

If NASA has its way, thousands of jet-propelled taxicabs will be used to ease the overburdened airline hub system and take advantage of about 5,000 smaller, slower airports.

The agency best known for sending space shuttles into orbit has embarked on a $69 million, five-year program to launch what is officially called the Small Aircraft Transportation System, or SATS.

At the heart of the program: dainty jets designed to hold about as many occupants as a sport-utility vehicle. A typical cabin would have two pilot seats, four club seats and a lavatory in the back.

Their tiny jet engines would be technological marvels, fuel efficient yet powerful enough to propel a plane to speeds up to 400 mph and altitudes of 41,000 feet.

"We want to demonstrate that it makes sense to think of small aircraft as an alternative to scheduled commercial airlines for trips between 200 and 1,000 miles," said Keith Henry, spokesman for NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia.

(Excerpt) Read more at sun-sentinel.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: airlines; airtravel; nasa

1 posted on 12/27/2002 8:26:38 AM PST by gubamyster
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To: gubamyster
Bump
2 posted on 12/27/2002 8:28:07 AM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: gubamyster
Hopefully this will spill out into the general aviation sector, which won't also have the Stalinesque airport security hassles.
3 posted on 12/27/2002 8:28:32 AM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
Now, make it robot controlled...
4 posted on 12/27/2002 8:31:47 AM PST by null and void
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To: gubamyster
This will be as economically feasible as the space shuttle.
5 posted on 12/27/2002 8:32:39 AM PST by Gary Boldwater
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To: gubamyster
This would be a welcomed advancement in a world different from what we know now. That's all we need is jet propelled, jihad kamikazis launched from 5,000 low security airfields. Instead of one big airliner, all 19 hijakers could have had their own death missle. NO THANKS! These guys at NASA haven't been observing the planet Earth for a while.
6 posted on 12/27/2002 8:33:36 AM PST by DanielLongo
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To: gubamyster
Citizen Plane
7 posted on 12/27/2002 8:36:58 AM PST by Incorrigible
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To: gubamyster
If NASA has its way, thousands of jet-propelled taxicabs will be used to ease the overburdened airline hub system and take advantage of about 5,000 smaller, slower airports.

If this were practical, the government would already be doing it. They can make the planes as cheap as they want, but you still have to pay the pilots.

8 posted on 12/27/2002 8:37:04 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
Arrgh! Should read:

If this were practical, the private sector would already be doing it. They can make the planes as cheap as they want, but you still have to pay the pilots.

Not only that, but the government is in the business of creating expensive transportation solutions that require massive subsidies and fail to address the core congestion problems. Light rail is a classic example.

9 posted on 12/27/2002 8:38:40 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: Gary Boldwater
Last time I saw something like this is was in Popular Science back in the fifties - everybody was going to have their own aerocar, or aquacar, electocar, or combination of the three.
10 posted on 12/27/2002 8:40:54 AM PST by norton
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To: gubamyster
If I suddenly stumbled into a job requiring a lot of domestic air travel, my next call would probably be to the local flight school.

No way do I want to run the gauntlet of federalized butt-feeling gestapo on a regular basis.

11 posted on 12/27/2002 8:41:26 AM PST by hopespringseternal
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To: dirtboy
Eclipse 500 is already under production and is a winner.
12 posted on 12/27/2002 8:42:19 AM PST by cynicom
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To: DanielLongo
Hmmm - Do you think corporate jets were not avaialable to the hijackers?

What do you think of having these new corporate jets widely available, but with armed pilots?

13 posted on 12/27/2002 8:45:26 AM PST by Triple
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To: cynicom
Eclipse 500 is already under production and is a winner.

You still have to pay someone to fly the plane. Spread that cost among four passengers, and you ain't gonna get a competive fare. Look at the cost just to ride in a taxi...

14 posted on 12/27/2002 8:46:47 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
"If this were practical, the private sector would already be doing it."

They don't need their study, all they have to do is buy the Eclipse when it's on the market in the near future. It is exactly what NASA proposes only it's being marketed and sold to general avaition.

I'd love to be able to afford one, a real bargain for under $1 million!
15 posted on 12/27/2002 8:47:01 AM PST by dalereed
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To: gubamyster
You know what...I used to like what NASA was doing but the more I read about it the more I don't like it.

There is already a private effort going towards "microjets" or whatever catch phrase you want to call them, and NASA has no business competing against the private sector.
16 posted on 12/27/2002 8:47:47 AM PST by anobjectivist
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To: gubamyster
NASA is only doing this as a way to avoid meaningful space exploration.

Honey! NASA's on the phone. They say they're from the government and they want to help us (with our air travel needs).

17 posted on 12/27/2002 8:48:10 AM PST by irv
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To: dalereed
I'd love to be able to afford one, a real bargain for under $1 million!

Yeah, a $1 million dollar jet, include pilot and ground crew, and amortize that cost for trips carry a whopping four passengers, and it will somehow be equivalent to the price of a coach fare.

Looks like NASA hired the cost estimators for the Canada gun registration database...

18 posted on 12/27/2002 8:51:59 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
But letting NASA spend $$ to produce fuel efficient engines should be a good thing.
Besides, anything distracting them from producing laser death ray satellites can only be a good thing.
19 posted on 12/27/2002 8:55:46 AM PST by Saturnalia
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To: Saturnalia
But letting NASA spend $$ to produce fuel efficient engines should be a good thing.

"Efficient" and "NASA" are not commonly used in the same sentence...

20 posted on 12/27/2002 8:56:44 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: Incorrigible
Dear Incorrigible:

This AM on TV someone said foolishly i think that a
million dollar cost to keep personal ground launched missiles
away from airliners were a bargain at only 1 Million dollars -per plane.
It would seem to me that the plus's of the Citizen Plane far
outweight the addition to ticket cost that 1 million
dollars a plane would bring.
Better sell that airline stock now




21 posted on 12/27/2002 8:57:06 AM PST by Raynham Iron
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To: dirtboy
Even renting a Cessna 172 with four people including the pilot for a flight from San Jose to Phoenix costs more than a coach ticket per person.
22 posted on 12/27/2002 9:02:26 AM PST by mvpel
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To: dirtboy
dirtboy...

Eclipse has already done the math and is is profitable.

23 posted on 12/27/2002 9:06:47 AM PST by cynicom
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To: dirtboy
As a monetary concept, no.
As far as "making things go NEEEEROOWWWW" they tend to do ok.
24 posted on 12/27/2002 9:09:56 AM PST by Saturnalia
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To: cynicom
Eclipse 500 is already under production and is a winner.

Unfortunately the 500 needs a new engine, as the Williams unit proved underpowered. It hasn't made a flight since its first one earlier in the year. I still think the concept is solid, and if Vern Rayburn can't get it in the air, I don't know of anyone else who could.

25 posted on 12/27/2002 9:10:46 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: cynicom
Eclipse has already done the math and is is profitable.

There is "profitable" and there is "cost would be close to that of a coach seat". I imagine there are many people who would be willing to pay a premium for this service. I simply do not see it competing with the likes of Southwest - trained commercial pilots don't work for cheap, and with a small craft like this, the labor cost is only spread among four passengers instead of over one hundred.

26 posted on 12/27/2002 9:11:06 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: Raynham Iron
Better sell that airline stock now

Is there a major airline that is not already in bankruptcy or close to it, or not receiving massive gov't subsidy?

27 posted on 12/27/2002 9:17:57 AM PST by RightWhale
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To: dirtboy
Eclipse has already sold their first two or three years of production in advance, mostly to those already in the air-taxi business. Their web site is worth reading.
28 posted on 12/27/2002 9:18:50 AM PST by cynicom
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To: gubamyster
How is Aerobus doing with their bigass 3XX that is supposed to carry 600+?

Anybody know?

29 posted on 12/27/2002 9:26:26 AM PST by N. Theknow
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To: Fiddlstix
This entire idea is nuts. Just what we need: thousands of additional aircraft inserted into an Air Route Traffic Control System on the point of collapse. A jet with two pilots carrying 2-4 people? Wicked efficient. Just what airways will they use? Where will they park? How will several thousand additional jets be sequenced into the system for instrument approaches? This is just the latest incarnation of the flying car fantasy.
30 posted on 12/27/2002 9:28:27 AM PST by pabianice
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To: DanielLongo
Are you for real?

I don't think I could stand to live in such a frightened state.

31 posted on 12/27/2002 9:34:25 AM PST by zeugma
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To: Incorrigible
Cool link. This is the kind of Jetsons stuff we expected from technology by now....

32 posted on 12/27/2002 9:37:19 AM PST by Hemingway's Ghost
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To: pabianice; dirtboy
Just what airways will they use?

Airways won't be needed in the future. Using GPS and computers IFR flights can fly great circle routes now. Airways are related to VOR navigation technology which is becoming obsolete.

The reason microjets will not be commercially viable is because of the Democrat / Lawyer symbiotic relationship. The Democrats feed off of the profits of product liability awards.

Cessna is one of the very few surviving airplane manufacturers. They were sued by a wet-behind-the-ears 172 pilot who stalled his plane when his seat slid backwards during a botched landing. No one died in the accident. Result: a jury awarded the plaintiffs $480 million dollars.

The legal leeches make many technologies impossible to implement.

33 posted on 12/27/2002 10:34:14 AM PST by Reeses
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