Airplanes and Monorails - 100
by Kim Pedersen
In the fifteen years I have been involved with monorail promotion,
I have been surprised at how many monorailists are also aviation
buffs. Discussing both modes of transportation with them, we have
concluded that monorail travel gives riders the sensation of low-level
flight over the terrain. Banking from side to side for turns,
not seeing the track beneath and getting a view of the terrain
below enhances the airplane-like experience. I remember having
this exhilarating feeling of flight on my first Disneyland-Alweg
Monorail ride, as well as on all the rides I've taken since then
on "flying" trains around the world. As we have said
many times, monorails are not just safe and efficient...they are
just plain fun to ride!
Since the 1960s, monorails have been touted as ideal ground transportation
to and around major airports. In fact, monorails with airports
include Tokyo-Haneda Monorail, Osaka
Monorail, Tampa International Monorail, Newark International Monorail (pictured
above), and most recently, the new Okinawa
image courtesy of Transrapid International
Not only do monorails connect with airports, but in the future,
high-speed systems such as maglev monorails could relieve airports
of passenger traffic. This certainly has been the case with conventional
high-speed rail systems in Japan and Europe. The first daily operating
revenue-producing maglev monorail will be Transrapid's Shanghai
Maglev, which runs from Shanghai to Pudong International Airport.
Munich Airport in Germany may build a similar connector to the
city (rendering above). Not only will passengers enjoy "flight"
above the terrain on maglevs, but they will also reap the benefits
of extraordinary speeds of flight that they can attain.
Many of us have impatiently waited for high-speed rail to be built
in our own crowded regions. I certainly have longed for it here
in California, and I continue to hope we get maglev monorails
running up and down the state some day. However, I've been waiting
for over 35 years and I'm not waiting any longer. I've settled
on getting my own personal 150 mph high-speed system, a Beechcraft
Sierra. No friends, it's not Air Force One, but you could call
it Air Force Mono! The airplane/monorail connection lives well
in my blood, and I hope to travel to and photograph monorails
in Las Vegas, Seattle and elsewhere using Air Force Mono. Thank
you Wilbur and Orville!
the Monorail Society
2014 update: Pedersen no longer owns this aircraft but continues to enjoy flying.
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