Akka Seeks Support For Train-Plane Concept

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Akka Technologies, a French engineering firm, pitched a futurist concept for a train-plane vehicle to Boeing and others last month at the Paris Air Show, according to Bloomberg News. Passengers would board a pod at a local train station, according to Akka CEO Maurice Ricci, then at the airport, a cockpit and wings would be added to the pod and it would take off as usual. Passenger screening and security procedures could be completed during the ride to the airport, and the system would bypass or simplify many of the usual travel chores, such as dealing with luggage and parking. Ricci said potential customers in Asia have expressed interest in the design, but declined to name any specific companies.

The Akka link-and-fly concept is about the size of an Airbus A320, and would carry up to 162 passengers on short-range flights. The seats also could be removed for conversion to freight hauling. “Planes need to become more efficient, less polluting and less noisy,” said Ricci. “Our role is to point our customers to technologies of the future.” The company has created a video mock-up to promote the idea.

view on YouTube

Comments (8)

This is a B I G version of a brain-fart idea that I shared here about a year and a half ago. That one was for a hybrid "flight module" that would carry an under-mounted passenger/ cargo "pod" that would ride atop a battery-powered "sled" when the vehicle was in ground-transport configuration.

"Nothing's a good idea, until it's THEIR idea!" ;-)

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | August 8, 2018 1:47 PM    Report this comment

LOL, not sure if people will want to be in a module that can be "jettisoned" from 30,000'.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | August 8, 2018 2:20 PM    Report this comment

First we're gonna make Skyhawks into autonomous drones to alleviate the pilot shortage and NOW ... we're gonna load the PAX into pods, too. What's next ... no pilots ??

Posted by: Larry Stencel | August 8, 2018 5:17 PM    Report this comment

This is a good idea that was first tried in 1950 with the Fairchild XC-120.
Sever instability of the aircraft in flight without its pod caused the program to be canceled. More dihedral for the outer wing panels may have solved this.

Posted by: Charlee Smith | August 8, 2018 6:54 PM    Report this comment

There is nothing new in this concept. I've seen several similar ideas floated in the past. I am not sure where they think this would be much more efficient or streamlined than conventional aircraft. Baggage still has to be stowed in a separate compartment, so trained personnel are needed to properly manage weight and balance. Security screening is still required, with all its trappings. You still have idiot passengers trying to push too-large bags into too-small overhead bins, so someone has to play referee during boarding.

The concept says you could use the "pod" as ground transportation before and after the flight, but since the passengers all come from, and travel to, different destinations, the pod would board and disembark at a central location, like a bus station. So, instead of taking a car or cab to the airport, you take a car or cab to the bus station. Not sure where this is any better than a conventional airplane.

Posted by: John McNamee | August 9, 2018 11:55 AM    Report this comment

Actually, this design is proven and has been used extensively by the Thunderbirds crew of the famous International Rescue (IR) organization, which was formed by Ex-Astronaut and millionaire philanthropist Jeff Tracy (at least that's what Wikipedia says). Thunderbird 2 has at least 6 different pods that can be installed in the middle of the aircraft (which is supersonic, by the way). Although the organization is notoriously secret, some video of the operations has sneaked on to the Internet. The secret footage may be viewed on Youtube. Search for "Thunderbird 2 selecting Pod 5".

I understand Jeff Tracy's reticence in allowing his super-secret technology from becoming public knowledge and falling into the wrong hands, but I think for the good of the environment he should make an exception in this case.

Posted by: James Freal | August 10, 2018 9:49 AM    Report this comment

"Thunderbird 2 selecting Pod 5".

They lost me at the tilting ramp and RATO.

Posted by: Robert Ore | August 10, 2018 10:17 AM    Report this comment

Sikorsky had that concept for short range - a pod tucked under an S-64 helicopter.

Perhaps envisioned to first be used to bring a first-aid module.

The recent holder of the TC for the S-64, IIRC Erickson but they may have gone broke, has a fire-fighting tank module.

(And obscure factoid: Tanker 10's belly tanks use Erikson's tank in multiples with aero fairing LE and TE.)

Posted by: Keith Sketchley | August 10, 2018 2:45 PM    Report this comment

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