A £2m privately-funded study is looking into the feasibility of mobile airports–a concept in which aeroplanes could take off and land on aircraft carrier-like runways travelling on the motorway.
The ambitious idea comes amid debate over the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport and serves as an alternative to schemes such as ‘Boris Island,’ the London mayor’s dubious plan for a new four-runway hub in the Thames estuary.
Research leader Prof Sara F. Dilypool from the University of Sanseriffe said one of the most challenging aspects of this new concept will be building catapults capable of launching a Boeing 767 in same way fighter jets are boosted off navy aircraft carriers.
This will require developing the biggest linear motors ever made and high temperature super conductors capable of creating the tremendous force needed to launch a large passenger aircraft, she said.
While the mobile runways would usually be stationary during takeoff and landing, Dilypool said it is theoretically possible that advanced guidance from the future Galileo satellite system could make it possible for aeroplanes to land on moving carriers.
The feasibility study will also look into the costs of building a track parallel to the M25, so these runways could permanently orbit London.