The Eastern McDonnell Douglas Demonstration program proved quantitatively that a STOL transportation system can significantly reduce city-to-city block time. This advance in short haul air travel can be effected by improved STOL aircraft with integrated airborne precision navigation systems capitalizing on unique STOL characteristics to substantially reduce non-productive time, utilizing presently unused airspace, and operating from near city center landing fields.
Present conventional jet aircraft block times and block speeds on EAL Air Shuttle and other Northeast Corridor operations are the result of years of experience and intensive effort by the entire air carrier industry to obtain the optimum performance from the existing system. It seems unlikely that additional improvements of appreciable magnitude can be extracted from this system. Conversely, the STOL concept possesses tremendous potential for bettering short haul transportation and will thus reduce overall air congestion.
The accomplishment of this necessary event requires the construction of supporting facilities, timely action by government and industry and continuing operational experience. Further development efforts in STOL aircraft and airborne avionics are required with emphasis placed on total system integration. Refinement of the existing airborne navigation equipment and development of a reliable, all-weather terminal guidance system is necessary to free STOL aircraft from existing terminal area guidance/runway availability limitations. Advanced high cruise speed, STOL aircraft capable of operating from sites conforming to FAA STOL-port criteria are requisite to implement this system.
It is earnestly recommended that construction of STOL-ports and other facilities be initiated in an opportune manner, such that these structures and passenger terminals will be operational in a time frame compatible with the availability of improved STOL aircraft and airborne navigation avionics.
An expanded scale demonstration program using STOL aircraft and airborne precision avionics employing the experience gained in this demonstration is needed to provide the additional knowledge required to establish the full scale operational procedures, limitations, and constraints.