NASA envisions neighborhood micro-airports to bypass streets

By Rebecca Boyle

Going out of town for the weekend? In the future, highway traffic won’t make you miss your flight — just grab a bus to the air taxi field down the street, then take a pre-flight flight to the airport in an autonomous Suburban Air Vehicle.

NASA’s Green Flight Challenge, which seeks environmentally friendly and efficient new flight concepts, could inspire systems of SAVs ferrying people between pocket airports, according to the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency Foundation (CAFE). Micro airports built into neighborhoods could have queues of airplane taxis to take people and goods between various points in a community.

Brien Seele, CAFE’s president, told Gizmag this week that pocket airports embedded in communities could have several configurations allowing for taxi takeoffs every 30 seconds.

A single runway concept would take up only two acres and could have 120 operations per hour, Gizmag reports. A triangular pocket airport could allow 260 operations per hour on four acres, and so on.

The planes’ flight paths would be coordinated by a master computer system to prevent collisions. Just in case, each SAV would come with a parachute, Gizmag reports.

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