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Floating an old idea in New York

By enelson
Monday, June 19th, 2006 at 6:44 pm in Misc. Transportation.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come up with a novel idea to reduce congestion at city airports, reports the AP:

Seaplanes.

Spruce Goose.jpg

A licensed pilot, Bloomberg envisions flying boats pulling up alongside LaGuardia Airport again, according to the AP story, picked up by the Buffalo News and excerpted here:

During a recent radio show, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg noted that airport and ground facilities lag behind the growth of intercontinental jet travel and said congestion would increase as New York City’s population reaches an estimated 9 million in the next 15 years.

“People are going to fly more and more, that’s the wave of the future,” said Bloomberg. Riding that wave, he suggested, could be the seaplane.

“If you take a look at a map, one thing we have going for us is an enormous runway all around – it’s called the water,” he said. “For local, short flights, to let’s say, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Florida . . . you can land out away from everybody and then taxi in.”

While Bloomberg is not noted for flights of fancy, his remarks conjured up images of the China Clipper, Yankee Clipper and other famous flying boats that spanned oceans in the 1930s, an aviation heyday cut short by World War II and killed off by the jet age.

Well, hey. If it works out for New York, maybe the Bay Area ought to try it. We’ve got airports on the water and pols willing to devote public funds to setting up new water-based modes of transportation, like hovercraft ferries and the like.

In fact, wth Alameda’s abandoned Naval facility, we could even build them here and fly them to New York.

And the best part would be that even if no airline would be willing to fly them anywhere, we could put them in storage and use them to taxi across the Bay when the Big One knocks out the Transbay Tube and the Bay Bridge. Perhaps the Spruce Goose could be pressed back into service.

Oh, that’s right: It never was in service.

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