Clip-air is another outstanding project that might totally change the way people and cargo travel. Designed by Switzerland’s Federal Polytechnic Institute this pod plane is something from the future.
The design of this shipping container is so simple that allows it to be moved cheaply from one mode of transport to another. The cost of long distance shipping is reduced by simple transfers of the cargo from the truck to the giant ship. The clip-air is composed from two elements only: the flying component, which includes airframe, ,cockpit, engine and capsules, which contain a huge number of detachable pods, and can serves as a cabin or cargo hold, depending on the configuration.
It reminds a bit the X-48, an experimental pilotless aircraft, designed by NASA long time ago, as it is based on a flying -wing concept, reminiscent of a stealth bomber.
The capsules of the plane can hung from the belly of the aircraft but not like warplanes carry the bombs. These capsules can actually be designed to carry both passengers and cargo.
The planes is expected to have a speed of a modern mid sized airplane, but the beauty of the concept is totally up to the versatile usage of capsules, so one single aircraft can do several functions at the same time.
Plus the capsules can be easily attached and detached from the airframe, which will allow the airplane make quick rotations on the ground.
The clip -air project is managed by Claudio Leonardi, who says that such operations will help to maximize the use of the airframe, which is so far the most expensive component.
What makes this project exceptional is the boarding process for the passengers, which will becomes extremely easy, as passengers will be able to board capsules before the flight easily– no more aisle jams. Along with shipping containers, Clip-Air could be seamlessly transferred onto trucks and trains, which opens a whole world of possibilities.
Passengers could even board the capsule for example on the bus station and wake up next morning on the different continent or even a planet without leaving their seat.
But there is always a but, in spite of genius engineering, it will be very complicated to make it work commercially, as it should contain quality technologies and so far scientists don’t know if the market is ready for such a new concept of traveling. But even if it works, for sure the first purpose is going to be a cargo one.
So far Leonardi is aimed to built such an aircraft containing three capsules and having a capacity of 150 passengers each.
Once there is going to be a support from one of the major industry players, the game will really change.
For now Leonardi’s team is going to work on the small prototype – a 10 long meter drone which will capture the imagination of onlookers and aviation visionaries as well!