Airplanes and Monorails - 100 years
Part II
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 Monorail.

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!


Kim Pedersen
the Monorail Society

2014 update: Pedersen no longer owns this aircraft but continues to enjoy flying.

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