It must be fun working as part of Airbus’s R&D team. From windowless cockpits to butt-busting seat designs, it’s never short of a wacky concept or two, though who’s to say some of these ideas won’t become a reality somewhere down the runway.
The latest design to spring from their creative minds is the detachable cabin. Yes, you read that right: the detachable cabin. This would, according to Airbus, reduce an aircraft’s all-important turn-time, vital in an industry that operates on super-tight margins.
The plan, explained in great detail in a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing spotted by the folks at Wired, describes “a removable cabin module, comprising a floor, an upper aircraft fuselage portion connected to the floor, and a first and a second end wall, wherein the first and second end walls, the floor and the upper aircraft fuselage portion form a cabin for transport of passengers, luggage, freight or combinations thereof.”
Put simply, the cabin would be at the gate, and would slide onto the aircraft once your flight time approaches. When you reach your destination, the cabin would be detached and quickly replaced with another one full of passengers, which could then depart once the plane’s fuel tanks have been refilled.
Such an ingenious design would surely also help to eradicate the chaotic scenes that often ensue during the boarding process. Imagine, you could arrive at your gate, quietly take your seat, and you’re good to go. No more mad rush as soon as the gate opens, no more dashing down the jet bridge like an escaped emu running from its keeper, no more squeezing past flustered fellow passengers fighting for overhead bin space.
Of course, there is the small matter of cost, with airports required to make huge modifications to their terminals for the plan to work.