Clip-Air Modular Aircraft Resizes Based on the Capacity Demand

Since a growing share of the global population is urbanized, sustainability has increasingly become focused on urban areas.   

Major cities are requiring a vast array of supporting infrastructures including energy, water, sewers and transport.   

Sustainable development applied to transport systems requires the promotion of linkages between environmental protection, economic efficiency and social progress.  

Sustainability has become a key topic in transportation in the last decades where the aim is to reduce the impact of transportation on the environment.   

Transport must be cost-effective and capable of adapting to changing demands.  

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Images credit: EPFL  

To achieve this goal of multimodal transport, there should be flexibility in capacity to satisfy the growing demand.  

This flexibility is adequately provided by a new concept developed by EPFL, named Clip-Air, for air transport.  

Clip-Air is a modular innovative aircraft with detachable load units which enable to adjust at best capacity according to demand.

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Images credit: EPFL  

The decoupling of the load (capsules) and carrying units (wings) allows for simplified fleet management and maintenance operations for airlines and is expected to improve the ground operations for airports.  

Clip-Air also provides an effective possibility of combining commercial freight and passengers on the same flight without any compromise in comfort.   

The height is to allow for capsules to be hung from the belly of the aircraft, not unlike the way warplanes carry bombs and missiles.  

The Clip-Air’s speed and range are expected to be on a par with that of modern mid-sized airliners, the beauty of the concept rest precisely upon the versatility provided by the capsules.  

The capsules can also be easily attached and detached from the airframe, making it possible for aircraft to achieve very quick rotations on the ground.   

The Clip-Air project’s main contribution would be to provide rail transport’s flexibility to air transport.   

The flying wing can accommodate up to three capsules with a capacity of 150 passengers each.  

Clip-Air also aims to address current environmental concerns due to the use of fossil fuels in the aviation sector. (Source: EPFL)


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