General Question

ipodrulz's avatar

Is it possible to land one plane on another?

Asked by ipodrulz (81points) January 15th, 2009

My friend and I are having a huge debate over if it’s possible to land a plane on another. I’m saying it’s practically impossible due to the fact that a plane glides when engines are cut, and I the reverse thrust would mess up the plane it’s landing on. Also if it was possible (it’s not..) how is it anyway practical?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

16 Answers

buster's avatar

No its not possible because what pilot is dumb enough to try? It might be practical though to stack jets on a aircraft carrier.

ipodrulz's avatar

Well, I think my friend is suggesting specifically designed planes… but even then that’s like saying engineers can design a water bottle that’ll constantly pour out water – quite impossible (in my head).

asmonet's avatar

Um. No. Not gonna happen.
If you’re confused as to why not, get two toys airplanes and stack them.

fireside's avatar

I think the landing gear would mess things up.
But if you weren’t worried about damaging the planes, I’m sure you could get pretty close.
Especially with a plane like this

tennesseejac's avatar

I bet you could land a small plane such as a Cessna 152 on top of a Boeing 757.

Knotmyday's avatar

Abso-frigging-lutely. Ever heard of in-air refueling? If an aircraft was specifically designed for another aircraft to dock atop it, there is nothing that would hinder the process but the skill of the pilots.
When the space shuttle was being tested, the glide runs were launched from a jetliner. Midair landing (simplified) would be the same process in reverse.
The only real debate would be over the necessity of the action.

eambos's avatar

Mid flight refueling is not landing one plane on another. A tube drops down and is mated, but the wieght of one plane is never put on the other.

And, as you said, they’ve had shuttles take off from jets, but not land on them. The reverse would be almost impossible, and incredibly dangerous.

EnzoX24's avatar

Planecraft Carriers?

No wait, AirAircraft Carriers.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Apparently, it is possible to land an airplane on a vehicle as seen here

buster's avatar

Okay sweet we can land planes on rv’s! Thats awesome.

DrBill's avatar

You can IF, the bottom plane is many times larger than the landing plane. The trick is the landing plane has to NOT cause a major disturbance in the airflow that is keeping the bottom plane in the air.

Knotmyday's avatar

@Eambos- The principle of inertia would still apply. The planes would have to be flying at the same speed, and the lower plane would have to be structurally modified to support the added weight and drag coefficient after the top plane had docked, but it can be done.

Here’s a nice shuttle piggyback pic, with an extremely heavy shuttle riding on a 747. This is how they tansport the thing cross-country, and the Boeing stands up to repeated take-offs and landings with that massive thing on its back. An in-air, same-speed docking would (theoretically) put far less stress on the airframe.

Like I said, it can be done.

It would require some precision flying, as I alluded to before.

AND, as I also alluded to before, the rationale for performing the act would also come into question.

As you said, it would be extremely dangerous; but no more dangerous than coordinating a barrel-roll or loop in tight diamond formation, which our Thunderbird and Blue Angels pilots do on a daily basis.

Shuttle128's avatar

Sure, why not?

There were plans for parasite fighter jets to go along with B-29’s in the 50’s. If the airstrip plane was specifically built to land the aircraft on it, and it was designed well enough then there is nothing (save pilot skill) that would stop it from happening.

RocketGuy's avatar

That would be the reverse of the White Knight/SpaceshipOne:

You would capture, not land, the smaller plane.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther