Engines of aircrafts are optimized for level flight at cruising speed in the stratosphere. However, back on the ground, where these engines aren’t designed to work efficiently, making these bulky machines attain take-off speed consumes a lot of fuel, not to mention the noise pollution it causes for people living near a busy airport. Taking a little inspiration from steam catapults that instantly propel fighter jets to take-off speed in a much shorter distance, engineers at Airbus believe that similar electric catapults can be used to propel commercial aircrafts, thus saving fuel and reducing noise.
The plan is to make use of induction electric motors, similar to the ones used in high speed trains, to help aircrafts accelerate much quickly and in a more environmentally friendly fashion. An aircraft ready for take-off would sit on a platform that runs along a track similar to a runway. Once the aircraft attains its required speed, the plane would lift into the air powered by its own engines.
The tech would definitely give the airline passengers a taste of rapid acceleration pushing them back into their seats hard, but would also save a lot of fuel and make life for those living near aircrafts much more pleasant. Also, if employed, the system would enable aircrafts to take off from a track that is a third shorter than a conventional runway.