Modular planes

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Modular planes

Postby aburt » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:27 pm

Just musing about how planes are often overbooked and the prices fluctuate wildly (and airlines doing their best to alienate customers, but that's a different topic :) ). My understanding is that some component of the problem is the fixed passenger capacity of the jets they own. That is, say, Southwest has only 737s, which can seat 137 people (according to wikipedia). Not every route every day is going to have exactly 137 people who want to fly.

So "wouldn't it be cool if" planes had modular seating sections that could quickly be inserted or taken out? Say, three rows of seats each (18 seats). Ideally time to unlatch, insert, and lock up would be, say, 10min. Got to be really simple. In a sense, the cockpit/tail/wings would be separate from the rest of the plane.

I know virtually nothing about aeronautics (as I'm sure shows :) ), so I realize that's a bit of an engineering challenge... but if you could figure it out, and test each combination (+1 section, +2, +3, ...), you'd have an amazingly flexible fleet of aircraft.
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Re: Modular planes

Postby wswears » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:03 am

Virtually every military cargo plane has this capacity. The question I have for you is, what would you do with the space when the seats were removed? Ship more cargo? I'm not suggesting that the flexibility is a bad thing, but approximately half of those planes is set aside for cargo as is, and I don't hear about a cargo carrying capacity shortage.

The reason we always have full planes is because the airlines really prefer to fly full. In some ways, so do you, because the price per seat is generally determined based on near capacity flights.

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Re: Modular planes

Postby anatoly » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:32 am

I'm still dreaming of a flying wing: fly-by-wire, highly efficient, theater seating with front view, much stronger construction possible with internal spars...
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Re: Modular planes

Postby wswears » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:56 am

anatoly wrote:I'm still dreaming of a flying wing: fly-by-wire, highly efficient, theater seating with front view, much stronger construction possible with internal spars...


Great big wing with standing room? It would be almost like the old dirigibles, but with the speed advantage of modern aircraft. Of course, flying into a thunderstorm would probably upset more people. :-)
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Re: Modular planes

Postby Mottman » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:48 pm

I think the OP means a plane that is more like a train,in that you can add sections to it. Detach the tail, plug on the extra section of seating, reattach the tail, and away you go. I can imagine storage sheds full of seating sections, just waiting to be slotted onto a plane.
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