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What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:01 am

One of the small local airports in my state has a plan to extend their runway. They have a whopping 3700 ft. and are hoping to extend out to 5000 ft.

The local NIMBY (Not in my back yard) people think this is a bad idea. Of course they found an "expert" to testify. I read his statement and thought I would ask you A.netters if you are aware of any of this stuff he is laying down here. To put it in question form-What is he talking about, and if it is true, when is it likely to happen? Is this a reason not to extend a runway to 5000 ft. when the job does not involve displacement of people or buildings?

Here's the quote from the local newspaper:

"The proposal to extend the runway to 5,000 feet is designed to accommodate aircraft that carry 10 or more passengers. But those planes may be obsolete within five years, according to Myrabo, a professor of engineering physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. That is because NASA is developing what is known as the Small Aircraft Transportation System, a network of airports across the country linked by smaller, quieter, high-performance aircraft capable of seating up to 10 people, Myrabo wrote. Those radically advanced turbofan jets can easily take off and land on a 4,000-foot strip, Myrabo said."


RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:21 am

First I've heard about it.

Considering that NASA doesn't even make aircraft, I think that this is 5 years away AT THE VERY LEAST. And small planes(Cessna Caravans, Beech 99s, etc.) won't be immediately replaced by these, as some operators will probably operate the older planes for another couple decades.

And did anyone notice how the runway extension was supposed to be for planes of 10 people and over, yet the 'expert' is saying that the current one is great for the new planes which will seat 10 people or less?
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RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:27 am

He clearly doesn't know what he's on about although I could guess what he might be on! Big grin

Planes that carry 10 or more people may be obsolete within five years?
Damn......better tell Boeing to stop work on the Sonic Cruiser.
Somebody ring Airbus too.
And what's gonna happen to the worldwide fleet of 747s, 777s, 767s, etc etc?
How much did they pay this clown??

Mike (NZWN)  Smile
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RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:28 am

I heard about this during a special on the Discovery Channel. Basically, the idea is that you'll be able to go to your local small airport and hail a small airplane with between 4 and 10 seats to take you where you need to go. Just as easy as catching a cab. You'd even be able to make a reservation from your PDA, after which the company operating the service would group the reservations together like a charter operator would and issue a departure time when the aircraft was full or near-full.

Frankly, I think it's an idea that's way before it's time. Realistically speaking, it's probably 20 years away from being mainstream, at least. Thus, it's not a legitimate reason for stopping a runway expansion *today*.

RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:37 am

I found out some info about this guy. Here's the link to the web site for the design he's working on:

Basically, its a theory which could work several decades from now.

A picture:

TomH: what paper was this printed in?
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RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:39 am

I think he's talking about a new system by NASA, but last time I checked, it wasn't that far in the making. The new system will be like a bunch of air taxis. Correct me if I'm wrong, the airplanes won't have pilots  Angry , instead the planes are linked by satellite and flown by computer. I think he's trying to make it sound like there will be a lot of noise pollution from the jets.

As a matter of fact there was recently a runway expansion at an airport that I fly out . The runway was extended to 5000 feet. And now all of the piston propellor airplanes and rarley, a turboprop fly from it. The jets and most turboprops take off from a 7000 foot runway. I don't think that his story is a reason to stop the runway expansion. If there won't be any buildings or people displaced, then I don't see a problem with it. After all your local airport could put a noise abatement program into effect.  Smile

Two A-4's, left ten o'clock level continue left turn!
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RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:39 am

This is in Vermont, right? I saw an article about this doofus and his testimony somewhere. There is some book out right now that talks about air travel in the future where people will fly in kind of aerial taxicabs, with just a few seats, that are turbine powered. I think that this is where he got his information. All that I can say is that one has to look at the anti-flatlander sentiment in Vermont and be surprised that they don't want to SHORTEN the runway to keep strangers out. I know for a fact that road repairs are often put off in Vermont so that people will drive slowly and roads go deliberately unpaved so that "foreigners" will stay away.
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RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:47 am

The "expert" is smoking something, as far as his line of reasoning. What the extension and new a/c have to do with each other is VERY unclear. He is refering to the new Williams engines and small jets like te eclipse. There is a great book about this concept calleed free flight. With time it may well revolutionize air travel, but it won't tear down and rebuild it, i.e. it may take passengers from airlines, but they will still exist.


by the way, NASA is not designing any new planes, but they are and alwyas have been very involved in research of both space and atmospheric flight.
When in doubt, one B pump off

RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 5:07 pm

Eclipse Aviation has been desgining the the Eclipse Jet 500 under a NASA initiative for smaller aircraft capable of using smaller underused runways around the US to provide air taxi service. NASA isn't building the plane but it performed the study about air transportation and the congestion of HUB and SPOKE systems, and found that personal travel in smaller aircraft out of smaller airports is the only way to solve the congestion. All NASA do is provide help and grants to developers of small aircraft and engines. For example NASA shared the cost with Williams for the development of the FJX-2 engine, these engines are the ones that power the eclipse 500

here is the link
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RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 8:06 pm

Thanks for thr replies. This is what I suspected of the situtation, simply a case of buying some opinion from academia to stop progress in the Green Mountain State (Vermont). What prostitutes these professors can be, they'll do anything to get their name out there.

I don't recall which newspaper (or online source) I saw it in, but the airport is the Morse State Airport in Bennington, VT. Air Now is located there and they seem to be doing fairly well in this economically-depressed part of the state.

But leadership (?) here is so oriented towards tourism and preserving the image of Vermont as it was 50 years ago that retaining jobs today doesn't seem to matter to them.

RE: What's This Guy Talking About?

Thu Feb 28, 2002 8:56 pm

Found an article in the Bennington Banner, some clippings:

"It is our view that a bigger airport is not necessarily a better airport," Myrabo wrote. "The federal money should be invested in substantial air safety improvements needed to position Morse for becoming part of the Small Aircraft Transportation System."

"Myrabo said the plan to extend the runway to 5,000 feet is designed to accommodate larger passenger planes that would carry more than 10 people, but "that may be economically obsolete within five years."

"Leik Myrabo, who also teaches engineering design courses about airplanes at R.P.I. in Troy, N.Y., said that extending the airport's 3,700-foot runway to 4,000 feet would allow it to meet Bennington's needs, in light of emerging technology that has led to small, high performance aircraft designs."

God this guy has a hell of a lot of confidence/ego. 30 years ago he must have been talking about how all runways MUST be made much longer than they were for the supersonic aircraft that would soon be coming about.


check out some older articles on it at

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