Air Transport World

British Aerospace studies transatmospheric airliner; HOTOl (horizontal take-off and landing) transport, used as an airliner, could fly London-Sydney in 45 minutes for $50,000 a passenger.

British Aerospace studies transatmospheric airliner London--The tenth anniversary in January this year of commercial operations with the supersonic Concorde produced a spate of speculation on what might succeed the 1,350 mph Anglo-French aircraft, and a small batch of "gleam-in-the-eye" proposals. There was the McDonnell Douglas Orient Express, a Mach 25 vehicle to fly between the U.S. and Tokyo in two hours, and the Aerospatiale FSST (future supersonic transport), basically an updated version of the Concorde, but larger (200-plus seats) and with longer range (8,000 km).

Now comes the British entrant--HOTOL, which stands for horizontal take-off and landing, a vehicle which is halfway between a space rocket and a supersonic aircraft. It would take-off from a conventional runway, although on a trolley, which it would leave behind in the interests of weight-saving. Landing would be on a lighweight undercarriage carried on board, for while the take-off weight would be 196 tonnes, the landing weight would reduce to 34 tonnes. …

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