SCOPE: This coverage is of an experimental system that allows an aircraft to take off on wheels and land on a cushion of air.
Plane checked prior to flight.
Plane in air.
Touch and go landing.
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Background: SCOPE: This coverage is of an experimental system that allows an aircraft to take off on wheels and land on a cushion of air.
BACKGROUND: A joint research project conducted by the United States Air Force and Canada has resulted in a unique system that permits an aircraft to take off and land almost anywhere.
At Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, a specially equipped aircraft recently took off on wheels and landed on a cushion of air. The aircraft, XC-8A, is a highly modified de Havilland CC-115 "Buffalo" aircraft on loan from the Canadian Department of National Defense. To accomplish this, Air Force technicians had to add a new wrinkle to the plane's belly. It's a rubber and nylon "trunk" that resembles an upside down liferaft about 32 feet long and 14 feet wide.
The trunk is inflated in flight and allows the airplane to take off or land on almost any flat unprepared surface, water, mud, sand, snow, ice or rough terrain.
Other than its military applications, cargo planes equipped with Air Cushion Landing systems might be used as intercity shuttles.
Instead of the familiar words: "gear down and locked," future pilots may be saying: "bag down and inflated."