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Flying trains could be on track to transform transport

17/07/2018
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Yes, you read that correctly. Flying trains.

As in, trains that fly…

French aviation firm Akka Technologies has designed a new flagship aircraft design, with wings that detach and fuselages that can then connect to local rail networks- making the travelling experience quicker and easier.
With Akka Technologies' new Link & Fly concept, travelling across the world could start and end by hopping on at your local train station.
(Image via Akka Technologies).

It works like this. You turn up at your local train station and board a train-like tube. Once on-board you have your retinas scanned and other security checks as you travel to the airport. Once your ‘train’ arrives at the airport, the tube rolls directly onto the runway, where wings are then attached to the tube (which becomes that aircraft’s fuselage). You then take off and make your way to your destination where the procedure then repeats itself in reverse.

All of this may beg the question, why?

Well, according to Akka Technologies, Link & Fly, as the concept has been named, the aim is to make air travel as easy and accessible as hopping on your local train or hailing a cab. Additionally, the concept could hasten turnover at airports, enabling a larger volume of flights to pass through on a daily basis.
The Link & Fly concept could carry as many as 160 passengers or a payload of 21,000 kg.
(Image via Akka Technologies)
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The specifications for the Link & Fly aircraft are impressive given its utility. Upwards of 160 passengers could be accommodated on-board, with an option for cargo delivery being able to handle a payload of 21,000 kg. Featuring a delta-shaped wing, the aircraft will include wing-mounted engines, a range of 2,200 km, a cruise speed of Mach 0.78, and a maximum cruise altitude of 39,800 ft. Akka Technologies have also suggested that they could develop a drone version for long-range cargo transport duties.

Will it happen?

It seems unlikely that we’ll see a complete version of Link & Fly anytime soon. Such a concept would require a radical transformation of existing airport and rail infrastructure for starters. Manufacturing facilities would also have to be completely overhauled to manufacturer that unique train/fuselage and wing sets.

However, reports from news outlets such as Bloomberg suggest that Akka Technologies are using Link & Fly as more of a demonstration of their innovation and consultancy capabilities. To quote:

“While Akka’s not banking on convincing a plane maker to necessarily build the entire ‘Link & Fly’ concept, it’s betting on the design to be an attention grabber and a showcase, parts of which are likely to end up in customers’ commercial aircrafts down the line.”

So flying trains might not be on track to transform transport, but they are certainly a great example of what can be created when you let your imagination fly…

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Tags: Engineering
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Flying trains could be on track to transform transport - Time to read 3 min
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