Birdwatching
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Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:20 pm

I drive up and down Interstate 190 a lot (Worcester, MA to Fitchburg, MA) and I was wondering: Why is it so wide? Normal Interstates are 2 or 3 lanes with 1 lane breakdown lane. Interstate 190, however, has an immense breakdown lane, about 4 regular lanes wide, even though there is hardly any traffic, ever.
Is this to allow an airliner to land on that highway? I have found some stretches where a 737 could go down without problems.
Any infos?
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7574EVER
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:22 pm

I would highly doubt it. Also, even if an airliner could fit, highways are not built to hold that kind of weight. The airliner would probably (in a sense) sink into the concrete.
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maiznblu_757
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:26 pm

Its happened, check this out....  Big grin


CLICK HERE
 
COEWRNJ
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:27 pm

Not saying that the specific road you are talking about was made to accommodate aircraft, but I think for every five miles of interstate there has to be one mile that is straight and able to accommodate an aircraft..
 
StevenUhl777
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:43 pm

I believe COEWRNJ is correct...during the Cold War and when many of today's interstates were being built, the government required that certain stretches be straight so that a fighter could land if necc. Asphalt should be able to support the weight of a fighter, and especially concrete. A 737 and heavier? Maybe not...

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theflcowboy
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:46 pm

I don't see why it wouldnt be able to hold a 737. Sometimes you have traffic jams with a bunch of tractor trailers. Granted its not as much as a 737 but get 4 or 5 of em together and im sure its pretty close. The landing site would more than likely crack. Would still be cool.

I think it is still a rule that on true interstates (not the spur ones, like 275/375) that there has to be some strait portion.

MD
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apcaz8
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:54 pm

There is actually an interesting article at http://geography.about.com/library/faq/blqzinterstaterunways.htm The man that wrote it works for the Federal Highway Administration's office. It says there is no law in effect that requires that. It is more or less an "urban legend."
 
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Ryan h
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:54 pm

As has been said earlier some stretches of road that are close to military bases could be used as emergency runways in wartime.
The Swedish Viggen fighter would lend itself for these operations because it has an airliner style thrust reverser unlike most military aircraft which have a parachute to stop them. The viggen also has a fairly short takeoff run.
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apcaz8
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:55 pm

"Also, while Interstates were created supposedly for defense, the standards for the overpasses on the system don't require a high enough clearance for some essential military vehicles so the Interstates aren't really worth much for moving troops." Summary of the link I posted earlier is at http://geography.about.com/library/faq/blqzinterstaterunways.htm
 
EMBQA
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:00 pm

Why.....is because when the Interstate Road System was set up, sections of highway where made straight just for the reason of using them as runways. You need to remember, when these highways where set up we where in a Cold War with the Soviet Union. Planners thought that if the bases where bombed and destroyed, they would still need places to land and take off.

Now, as time has passed and population has grown, size has been driven by demand. Worcester to Fitchburg has a heavily traveled roadway....Let alone the close proximity to Boston.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
 
MTChemNerd757
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:05 pm

According to the US Dept of Transportation, there is nothing about having 1 mile in every 5 (or any portion of it) be straight to land an aircraft. Check this out: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/rw00b.htm

brad
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C17Glbm
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:08 pm

The only RWY/ Road I know of is located at Ramstein AB in Germany. It used to be a additional runway and was closed down quite a few years back. They turned it into a road leading to the main gate. It's however impossible to land an aircraft on there now.
 
JFernandez
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:14 pm

There's no LAW on the topic, however, some stretches of Interstates were consciously designed with some straight paths in order to possibly be used as such. Of course, then they realized that very straight stretches may help cause falling asleep accidents. Argh.
 
bigb
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:21 pm

I don't know about about landing, but I know for a fact that airliners have crashed on Highways before. I.E. NWA MD-80 crash
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B757capt
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:56 pm

I don't know but it kind of makes sense to have ever 5-10 miles stright for an emergency I.E. Med evac or a War or something god forbid like 9-11
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beefer
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 3:00 pm

There has never been any regulation or rule that says 1 mile in every 5 of an interstate highway must be straight for use by aircraft.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE STOP propagating this rumor and hoax. Just because you got it in some email that was supposed to claim interesting facts, doesn't mean that it is the truth.
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 3:25 pm

I heard a rumor from a few co-workers at AS that Aeroflot tried to land one of their russian made jets on WA 509 in SEA back in 1998 or 1999. but that jet never touched the highway. The rumor was said that the close encounter had a few faults. The crew spoke no english and they also have never flown into SEA before. This was in broad daylight from what Ive been told. (Note that WA HWY 509, which is a two lane highway going each direction divided by a grassy median, are parallel to the runways @ SEA so that is probably what caused the confusion.) While the incident happened the ATC was looking for someone who spoke russian so that ATC can communicate with the Aeroflot crew. Finally they landed the russian made aircraft safely and for some reason the F.A.A. detained the pilots for questioning and siezed the aircraft pending investigation. Hearing this from a variety of different people from different work groups, I honestly dont know if this story was, in fact, true. Does anyone know anything about this incident at all?

I was also told that after this incident happened that the F.A.A. suspended Aeroflots rights to fly into SEA and was told they were not allowed to fly russian manufactored jets into SEA anymore. (This lasted about a month, their plane was sitting next to the DL hangar and never moved during that time.) The only way Aeroflot could fly into SEA again was to operate Boeing or Airbus. Again, Im not sure what to believe....does the F.A.A. have the right to do this or were my co-workers pullin' my leg?? Kinda hard to believe all these stories Ive heard.
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StevenUhl777
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 3:51 pm

Airframe...

Actually, yes...there was an Aeroflot flight that nearly mistook 1st Ave. South in Burien for one of the runways at SEA. SEA's runways are north/south (16L,R and 34L,R) and would be parallel to 1st Ave. S. Conversely, SR509 runs along the north end of Sea-Tac, and nearly perpendicular to the runways.
I think your coworkers were close, but missing some key facts.

If memory serves me correctly, Aeroflot started flying a 777 into SEA, but I believe they have discontinued that service now.
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afay1
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:12 pm

How does the manufacterer of the aircraft affect the pilot's ability to land or not land on a highway?
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:18 pm

I thought it was one of those TU-177 I think, not sure what type I could be wrong, (It was a 4 engine aft-mounted aircraft similar to a M80) planes that the F.A.A. detained for a month. So I guess SOME of these rumors was in fact true. But I was told that WA 509 was the place where Aeroflot wanted to land. Actually, Aeroflot started flying 767s into SEA for some short time right after the incident then switched to the 777 and I think they operate one daily flight to/from Moscow.

I drove on WA509 on a daily basis to work at AS from my West Seattle home so I knew it was parellel to Sea-Tac's runways, just sayin' that, ya know...not important.

[Edited 2004-02-09 08:22:08]
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MD-90
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:19 pm

I don't think Aeroflot has ever flown any of their non-FAA certified aircraft to the US, ever. I'm thinking that if any did the Il-62 would've been it. However, JAL did operate the Tu-114 into the US, but it was as a JAL flight. This was before the Cold War began in earnest, of course.

I don't believe the 1 in 5 urban legend, personally. The concrete is nowhere near thick enough to support the weight. The landing gear bogies would punch right through it. Not to mention you've got powerlines to deal with.



But...

Strangely enough, I have seen in several places a sign painted on Mississippi highways that looks very much like an airplane. It clearly has a horizontal wing, a fuselage tapering from the front to the back, and a small horizontal stabilizer. AND, I am quite certain, the symbols only appear when the road is in fact straight with minimal grade for a good distance. But there are lots of powerlines, so no landing would ever be attempted unless it was a Cessna with engine failure or something. But I am serious about the aircraft symbols being painted on straight stretches of highway in Mississippi, such as US 45 in between Starkville and Tupelo. But no one I know has ever contacted MDOT to find out why.
 
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:26 pm

"Normal Interstates are 2 or 3 lanes with 1 lane breakdown lane"

You have some small interstates then, geez some in So. Cal are as much as 6 lanes wide on each side. I dont know of any major interstate in So. Cal in major citys that are less then 4 on each side. They do get smaller out in nowhere land but not in the city.
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:27 pm

Aeroflot has, in fact, flown one type of their russian made aircraft into SEA. Ive seen it a very few times between 1996-1999 but I dont know what type it was. (Refer to post of mine above.) This was BEFORE they started to convert to the 767 service which then the 777 took over the route later......
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
SFO2SVO
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:49 pm

Aeroflot was flying to SEA (continuing to SFO) first with IL-62, then IL-96, then switched to 777. Now, since 777s are leaving the fleet, they will be using 767 to SEA and service to SFO will be discontinued.
They stopped using Il-62s because of the noise problem and IL-96s were replaced with 777 due to frequent problems witn PS-90 engines and lack of service facility in SFO. (this was never officially confirmed but sounds realistic)
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katekebo
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:55 pm

Maybe not in the US (or other Western countries), but in my home country - Poland - they indeed built a few roads that could be used as back-up runways for fighters and other military planes during the Cold War. Actually, the Polish Air Force used to practice once or twice per year using these roads for their Mig-21s in the 70's. Most, if not all, are probably gone now - I have been living out of Poland since 1979, so I don't have any fresh information on the subject.

 
USAFHummer
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:32 pm

I recall seeing a picture of a JAS 39 Gripen landing on a residential road somewheres in Sweden I think...pretty amazing...

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thaigold
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 8:06 pm

In Denmark where I'm from they have build some of the freeways so the airforce can land fighters on them. They even have secret fueldepots along some of the freeways so the fighters can be refueled. I kid you not....

I'm sure that Denmark is not the only place where this is??!!
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Dufo
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 8:25 pm

I seriously think I just creamed my pants without any influence from any outside variables.
 
rob2507
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Mon Feb 09, 2004 11:23 pm

While this site doesn't explicitly say why the road is so wide, I would imagine it was built that way so that in the future it would be easier to add a travel lane.
http://www.bostonroads.com/roads/I-190_MA/
The site also has several links to other road geek sites. Also, check out the ne.transportation usenet group.

One of the design requirements of the Swedish Viggen is the ability to land on roads.
From http://www.avrosys.nu/aircraft/Attack/177AJ37.htm:
"The Viggen got the at this time unusual layout with a flapped canard wing and a delta-shaped main wing. This configuration was used to combine good performance at high speed with a true STOL (Short-Take-Off-and-Landing) capability. The latter was necessary due to the base system developed by the Swedish Air Force. To reduce vulnerability, the aircraft have to able to start and land on short and narrow runways, often straight lengths of ordinary roads. In addition to the flaps fitted to the canard wing, the Viggen is equipped with a thrust-reversible engine and wheel-braking by units with an anti-skid system. This combination gives a landing run of only 500 meters."

 
BMAbound
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:29 am

Yup, there are quite a few of those looong roads in Sweden and as a matter of fact fuel depots are located on many different spots, thing is, no one knows where they are... If my memory serves me correct, I believe the Swedish Air Force conducts flights from ordinary narrow roads as common practice for their pilots. the Gripen needs about 800 m/2500 ft to take off and land and with these numbers, it still has a rather big safety margin.

Afay1,

I'm not sure if the incident with Aeroflot was due to language barriers or just overall lousy judgment, but keep in mind, in order to fly an Airbus or a Boeing, the crew has to be English speaking.

regards,

johan
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cloudboy
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:51 am

Back to the original question-

I am assuming that you are talking about that stretch in Sterling right above Sterling Airport where there are these way oversized shoulders (they used to be green)? Neat idea, landing a jet there - never thought of that.

My father worked on that highway back in the 70's (may have been early 80's) - there are some watershed areas in there that drain right into the Wachusett reservoir. Those broad shoulders are there in an attempt to cut down on the amount of sand and road salt getting into the watershed.
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ssides
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:42 am

More info on the "landing strip" subject:

http://www.snopes.com/autos/law/airstrip.asp
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ltbewr
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:09 am

There have been a number of cases over the years of G/A's landing on major and Interstate highways due to mechanical problems. in the early 90's, a Cessna landed on I-80 in Rockaway, NJ when had a fuel problem, fixed it, and took off from the same road, no cars were hit, but did it ever cause a traffic jam! I believe in Nazi Germany, some parts of the Autobahn were used for airstips as were some roads in Eastern Europe and other countries during the Soviet era, as other posts point out. There may be some roads on or near militrary bases that could have been built for emergency airfields, but the 1-5 rule is nothing but urban(rural?) legend. Also don't forget, if things got that bad, the government would take over all airports and shut down civilian/commercial access as needed. One of the alleged purposes of the Intersate Highway system was to make sure were roads that could allow the fast, easy movement of troops in wheeled vehicles not as aircraft landing strips.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:33 am

Back in March 1993 I was driving on a single lane dirt road in the deep forests of Estonia. Estonia was considered part of the Soviet Union until just 19 months before that, and there were still Russian troops around. Whole parts of the country - for instance the Paldiski peninsula (Soviet nuke submarine base) - were still completely closed Russian military facilities.

Suddenly the narrow track straightened up and seemed to widen enormously.

I stopped and checked. Under the snow was a 200 feet wide concrete lane, two miles long. On both sides there was about a quarter mile distance to the trees.

After those two miles it was a single lane dirt track again.

The locals confirmed my assumption. In addition they told me that it was a terrible ecological disaster. Underground fuel tanks made of concrete had cracked and leaked enormous amounts of fuel. They would have to pump up astronomic amounts of polluted ground water for decades to clean up the area, and for the foreseeable future they had no money for that.

Happy landing, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
BostonBeau
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:53 am

I had heard that I-190 was built that way for a couple of reasons. First of all, when Fort Devens was active, the road would have served as the primary conduit to move troops and their equipment (tanks, trucks, etc.). I also heard that it was built because a particular very powerful Congressman wanted it built, and since "money was no object," it was built so that it could be widened easily if needed. Not a bad idea when you think of it (spending a little more money now, so that you'll have to spend less money later). I think the people rebuilding US3 now from Rte 128 to the NH line wish that had been done..  Smile
 
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solnabo
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:06 am

WAAAOOOWWW.........
whatta great strip of film!! Loved it  Big thumbs up
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Birdwatching
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:10 am

This answers the question... my own question...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

"Alongside the Wachusett Reservoir (drinking water for Boston), Interstate 190 features wide paved shoulders, intended to contain water and snowmelt runoff in its own drains rather than spilling into the reservoir. "

Found at: http://www.kurumi.com/roads/3di/i190.htm
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AApilot2b
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:36 am

All said, I think the short movie posted by Maiznblu 757 is one of the greatest short films out there. I loved it! I had seen "405" before and when I saw this topic, that is what I expected; not some serious debate about the road systems.  Big grin
 
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chrisnh
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:00 am

I know exactly where the poster is describing: I have driven from my home in Brookline, NH to Worcester along that stretch of Route 190 many times. Those of you who haven't driven along this stretch are pretty uninformed, but I can tell you: once you come upon it, you would say 'Whoa...what's this?' You would immediately think of it as an aircraft landing strip.

The stretch, besides being wide (read: WIDE), is painted green along the sides.

The explanation I heard--which is no more or less plausible (I suppose) than any other--is that this was designed as an alternate landing strip for Ft. Devens, which is now decommissioned. That base is, as the crow flies, about 7-10 miles from the stretch of Route 190 we're speaking about.

Chris in NH
 
Flyinround731
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:25 am

I may be able to shed some light on why your breakdown lane is so large. You say it's about 4 highway lanes wide. Well, the breakdown lane may one day be restriped to add a HOV lane or more mainlanes to the highway in case more lanes are needed to accomadate future traffic levels. Here in Houston, we have some large breakdown lanes in the center of some of our freeways. They are so large because in a few years, HOV, or High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, or sometimes called carpool or contraflow lanes will be put in the middle, or in some cases, toll lanes will be installed, and then, the breakdown lanes will be smaller.
-Joe
 
elwood64151
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:25 pm

I don't see why it wouldnt be able to hold a 737. Sometimes you have traffic jams with a bunch of tractor trailers. Granted its not as much as a 737 but get 4 or 5 of em together and im sure its pretty close. The landing site would more than likely crack. Would still be cool.

We're talking about the force of a 120,000 pound aircraft landing (in what is probably an emergency landing) at 100-180 kts. The concrete would certainly buckle, if not collapse completely.

That is not to say it couldn't be done, or that the aircraft couldn't taxi along a highway (assuming its width could accomodate its wings) but the damage to the highway from a landing would be extensive.

Even fighters would do damage to the road. After all, fully loaded they can weigh anywhere from 40,000-80,000 pounds (depending on type and payload). Even still, an airliner would do significantly more damage to the road surface.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
MD-90
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:35 pm

Now, landing on the autobahn would be another thing. There are stretches of it with extremely thick concrete. But in the US I believe interstates are typicaly only 10" to 14" thick, a far cry from the 28" thick paving that many airports have.

Those are numbers that have been verified on here before, if my memory serves me correctly.
 
cloudboy
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:46 pm

What section of 190 are you talking about? There are two possible I can think of - the one that is in Holden/West Boylston just after the big curve at Mountain St, and the one in Sterling, just before you get to Rt 12.

The Stretch in Sterling I doubt would be long enough to land an aircraft on anyway - it is a little more curved than it looks sometimes. The part in West Boylston is that wide from when they were building it, they was st one point a plan to build a large ramp to an industrial park on Malden st.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
Guest

RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:28 pm

Two Words:

Urban Legend

More words:

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
 
n685fe
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RE: Airliner Landing On Interstate 190

Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:21 pm

MD-90
"I have seen in several places a sign painted on Mississippi highways that looks very much like an airplane."

Those marks are there so your ground speed can be tracked from the air. They time it takes you to pass one painted sight to the next.
psp. lead by example

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