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‘Clip-Air’ allows modular plane to link with rail

AFP-JIJI

The model of an adjustable plane boasting wings that can be attached to train compartments is scheduled be shown at the Paris Air Show next week, the Swiss inventors said Monday.

The “Clip-Air” project is fresh off the drawing board and features a single flying wing that could be clipped onto train “capsules” carrying passengers or cargo, the EPFL technical university in Lausanne said.

In a future of Clip-Air planes, people will be able to go to the train station to catch a plane, board on a capsule to reach the airport by rail, and then — without leaving (their) seat — fly to another city, it said.

EPFL acknowledged that the project it has been working on since 2009 remains “very futuristic,” but stressed that its scientists are convinced it is technically feasible.

The model to be shown for the first time at the Paris Air Show next week will represent a flying wing that can hold up to three capsules, each with the capacity to carry 150 passengers.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the project is the potential to “revolutionize airport configuration,” EPFL said.

The capsules, measuring around 30 meters and weighing about 30 tons, will fit in airports the way they are built today, but will also be compatible with rail tracks, it said, meaning “the boarding of either cargo or passengers in the capsule could be done not only at airports but also directly in rail stations or production sites.”