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  • Helicopter/STOLport question

    Hello all.
    I think that this is the right forum for this question, since it's about airline operations, but if not, then sorry. Why haven't airlines in the past and present employed helicopters? They seem like it would be a good profit maker to do cross town hops, or big city to big city (ie. New York to Newark, SFO to Oakland, Minneapolis to ST.Paul, etc). Also , why didn't airlines ever use STOLports? For instance, in Pittsburgh, the airport is at least a good 30 min. drive from the city, wouldn't it be easier to put it IN the city?
    Thanks in advance,
    330

  • #2
    During the mid 1980's Air Canada operated a helicopter service between Toronto Intl and downtown Cherry Beach. I think it was the 84 to 88 period.

    I saw them all the time. Memory must be getting short after 26.5 years.

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    • #3
      Pan Am did just that, operating a Heli service from the Worldport at Idlewild (later JFK) to Manhattan with Sikorsky's, albeit for only a limited clientel, namely the full-fare paying FC flyers. Some British company also used to operate a Heli-Shuttle between LHR and LGW decades ago.
      But in the end, such things were not financially worth it, as the large heli's sure consumed their part of fuel, plus road/train connections were improved at the same time, so the service became unnecessary and was finally stopped.
      As for why airlines do not use STOLports close to downtown, pretty simple:
      Planes make noise, and people generally don't like plane noise, not to mention they are also lawsuit-happy, so it would obviously never work .

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      • #4
        Originally posted by UsAir330
        Hello all.
        Also , why didn't airlines ever use STOLports? For instance, in Pittsburgh, the airport is at least a good 30 min. drive from the city, wouldn't it be easier to put it IN the city?
        Thanks in advance,
        330
        As you probably know, they've been trying to put a train in for awhile, either a maglev or light rail. I think light rail would be more feasible, but with the county's finances right now, it will probably be awhile. Trains are more efficient on short routes than a helicopter would be, not to mention the noise factor like someone said. On further routes, it would just be faster to fly a turboprop. DHC-7 was designed for small airports, for instance maybe Meigs Field (closed, as far as I know) to a regional airport near the downtown of another city instead of O'hare or Midway to the other city's major airport. Never really caught on, though.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by scramjet
          As you probably know, they've been trying to put a train in for awhile, either a maglev or light rail. I think light rail would be more feasible, but with the county's finances right now, it will probably be awhile. Trains are more efficient on short routes than a helicopter would be, not to mention the noise factor like someone said.
          About the Pittsburgh part, I was reffering to a STOLport nearer to/ in the city. This is a bit but wasn't/isn't the maglev supposed to connect the city and also provide service to the airport and suburbs?
          Cheers and thanks for all of your responces,
          330

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          • #6
            I'm curious about the talk about Maglev trains in Pittsburgh. Is it actually feasible in a city of this size? As far as I know, the Maglev from Shanghai to Pudong airport loses millions every month. (Although the government never really expected it to break even)

            Pittsburgh is not even a major hub (?) or destination, so light rail or commuter trains extended from existing tracks should be the way to go.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by UsAir330
              About the Pittsburgh part, I was reffering to a STOLport nearer to/ in the city. This is a bit but wasn't/isn't the maglev supposed to connect the city and also provide service to the airport and suburbs?
              Cheers and thanks for all of your responces,
              330
              Something like that. The first phase was to connect downtown with the airport and then add some other service. Now we are not only competing with Washington/Baltimore for federal funding, but a few other cities including Las Vegas. I think the light rail proposal that was tossed around once or twice is the best bet. But anyhow, I'm myself.

              Originally posted by avro_arrow_25206
              I'm curious about the talk about Maglev trains in Pittsburgh. Is it actually feasible in a city of this size? As far as I know, the Maglev from Shanghai to Pudong airport loses millions every month. (Although the government never really expected it to break even)

              Pittsburgh is not even a major hub (?) or destination, so light rail or commuter trains extended from existing tracks should be the way to go.
              The main reason for this proposal was when Pittsburgh was a large air hub. People get laid over a few hours, they hop on the train and visit downtown for awhile. Pittsburgh (the city, not the airport) still gets alot of visitors (that might have changed with our hub status gone) We're are also a metropolitian area of almost three million people (I think), but still, I don't think a maglev is the best option the one in Shanghai does lose money, and a light rail system would be cheaper.

              Anyway, back on topic, it seems like the STOL airports are a good idea. Especially if someone used a small turboprop on the New York corridor (Boston-New York-Washington) for shuttle type operations. Using small near city core airports would mean almost no delays, and it would be more convient for travellers as well. Washington might be kind of hard due to the restrictions, but you think someone would have done this.

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