600-Passenger Plane of Future to Use Underground Airport (Apr, 1935)

600-Passenger Plane of Future to Use Underground Airport

LOOKING into the future and visualizing l the fact that aviation will handle a great bulk of the world’s transporation, Dr. William Christmas, noted inventor-aviator, has designed a new 600-passenger air-liner and a giant underground airport to service the planes and handle the passengers.

The 600-passenger liners will be built with a two-story fuselage and will have an over-all wing spread of 400 feet. Motors of 25,000 horsepower will drive 75-foot propellers at a rate which will carry the planes at a speed of 200 miles per hour. Amphibious and carrying all the luxuries of a modern steamship, the plane is expected to be too large to be affected by adverse weather conditions.

The airport will house a United States post office, hangars, and service rooms for the planes. Landing on the wide, curved roof, the planes will trundle down a ramp onto a turntable where they will be swung directly in front of the post office to discharge passengers. Elevators then carry the passengers to underground automobile and railroad lanes where they may continue their journey.

  1. TomLR says: September 19, 20118:19 am

    I’m unclear how a plane would land on the domed ceiling. would it land and veer quickly left or right? Unlikely, I think. It seems that an aircraft without vertical take off and landing capability would need a rather long linear runway. So if the runways are going to eat up acres of surface, why not build the entire thing above ground?

    Which is what happened.

    But it was a great idea. As a kid I used to love articles like this. Each one made me imagine a future where, for example, I could be a passenger or a pilot on a plane in such an underground airport, or a city with 400-story buildings. Yet, for the most part the real world stayed much the same over the decades. But this man had a good imagination, and publication of his idea no doubt stimulated the imagination of boys and girls in my parents’ generation just as the articles in the 60s stimulated mine.

  2. DrewE says: September 19, 201110:08 am

    Hmmm…assuming the “75 foot propellers” are 75 feet in diameter (rather than radius), they would need to be limited to around 285 rpm to ensure the tips remain subsonic.

    I suspect the roof isn’t domed, but instead the “curved” description refers to its circular plan; although a gentle doming wouldn’t cause much trouble provided the airplanes took off and landed more or less over the middle of the hump. Airstrips in remote mountainous areas are often decidedly not level (along their length); and if they are sufficiently angled, landings are always made uphill and takeoffs downhill, regardless of the prevailing wind direction.

  3. Hirudinea says: September 19, 201110:26 am

    Makes Kai Tak look like a p—y!

  4. M.S.W. says: September 19, 201110:27 am

    Wonder if this is the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Original EPCOT concept?

  5. bobby j says: September 19, 201111:01 am

    Why would they discharge the passengers at the Post Office?

  6. Easter Bunny says: September 19, 201112:05 pm

    Ah! Dr. Christmas we meet again! You have been noted before when you hatched a plot to kidnap the Kaiser, and designed the Christmas Bullet to do so. A plane with no wing bracing or struts whatsoever! Built with wood veneers like a piece of furniture, the Bullet was strange indeed for the time. It was even rumoured to have been built with rare teak and mahogany, but in the internet age this seems to be false.


  7. Pat Flannery says: September 22, 201112:51 am

    Christmas is sort of the anti-hero of the book “The World’s Worst Aircraft”.
    This monster plane shows up in Bill Gunston’s “Giants Of The Sky”, where it is noted that its span was 262 feet, wing area 10,370 square feet, and it had props 34 feet across, each of which was driven by four engines of 1,100 hp.
    In that book it only carries 160 passengers and a crew of 17 in luxury worthy of an ocean liner over a range of 800 miles in 7 hours… yes, it cruises at around 114 mph while using up its 2,665 gallons of fuel to pull its 145,000 pounds of bulk through the sky.
    A quote from the book: “The brochure told us ‘Inside the wheel fairing is a waste heat boiler which supplies heating to the interior of the machine, and here also terminate the exhaust pipes from the engines.’ Isn’t that how people commit suicide?”.

  8. Sean says: October 3, 20113:18 pm

    “Waste heat boiler” because heavy hot water heat is what you want on an aircraft.

    This wouldn’t be feeding exhaust right into the passenger cabins, but would just be running the hot gas over heat exchangers to heat water and bring heat to the cabins.

    Using exhaust heat to warm the cabins: good and often used.

    Using water with heavy plumbing and its own considerable weight as a medium: not so good.

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