Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-01-1347

Personal Air Transportation: An Analysis of the Transportation Research Board's Review of the Small Aircraft Transportation System and Other Recommendations 2003-01-1347

Mobility is closely related to our economy, lifestyle, and demographics. Economic opportunities are only available in areas with affordable transportation. At first, cities could only develop along seaports, because boats and sails where the early forms of affordable transportation. The introduction of steamboats allowed cities to develop inland along the rivers. The Industrial Revolution brought about smaller engines with increase horsepower, making trains and transcontinental travel possible. Economic opportunity was no longer limited to bodies of water. As engines were refined and their size reduced even more, automobiles became practical, extending transportation to small towns almost anywhere. Automobiles also changed our lifestyles. People were moving out of the cities into suburbs. The Jet Age brought high-speed air transportation, drastically shortening travel time. Indeed, jets made the world seem smaller. In order to make air service affordable and air traffic manageable, however, a hub-and-spoke system was developed which limited air service to large cities and the airlines schedule, except for those with personal aircraft. With refinement of jet engines and the technology from the Internet Age, personal air transportation could now be a reality for the rest of the nation. A new generation of advanced, small aircraft promise to significantly reduce the costs of jets and new Airborne Internet systems are being tested to replace the 50-year old radar systems. This small aircraft revolution could provide a safe, high-speed travel alternative that frees people and products from delays in today's air system, and creates access to more communities in less time.


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