Clip Air Concept Would Combine Train and Air Travel

A recent article in Gizmag reports that a Swiss company called École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has developed a way to simply air travel, essentially combining it with travel by train.

One generally travels by air currently by going to the air port in a car, parking or being let off, waiting in a long line for baggage claim, waiting in another long line for security checks, taking the air trip, then getting ones baggage, then taking a cab or rented car to one's destination.

EPFL has developed a project called Clip Air that allows one to board a "module" at a train station. Each module would be 98 ft long and weigh 29.5 tons. The module would be taken to an air port where it would be attached to a flying wing, which would take off, fly to the destination airport, then attached to a train which would then go to a station insider the destination city. Baggage and security checks would only happen at the train station.

The flying wing vehicle would be capable of taking up to three modules at a time, with a potential passenger capacity of 450 people. Each module can be specialized for first class, second class, or cargo. The flying wing could run on a variety of biofuels or liquid hydrogen. The flying wing plane could operate from a conventional air port, modified to allow for the rapid detachment of a module from a train and attachment to the flying wing and visa versa.

Freight could be loaded at a rail stop at a factory or distribution center into a module and then shipped by the air port where the module would be attached to a plane and then taken to its destination.

The Clip Air plane remains a concept and a full scale model is still years away from becoming reality. In the meantime, a nearly four feet model of the Clip Air plane will be on display at the 2019 Paris Air Show.