world's first Supersonic Wingless Amenity Pilotless Passenger Aircraft takes off

Ireland's incredible Swappa is back in the news this week due to the fact that it hasn't been in the news at all since its innaugural flight on Saturday, 3 March 2001.

— amateur plane spotter   

Richard Branson said to be 'thunderstruck' . . .

Sleek and elegant looking but deadly in concept and design, the new Supersonic Wingless Amenity Pilotless Passenger Aircraft (Swappa) takes to the skies from Shannon Airport in Ireland.

A spectator watches the take-off from
the Nookie Field close to Shannon Airport

IRELAND has launched a blockbuster on the aviation industry with its first ever successful test flight of a nuclear powered supersonic wingless amenity pilotless passenger aircraft, the Swappa.

Pictured [left] on its inaugural take-off from Shannon Airport just before dawn on Saturday, 3 March 2001, the aircraft completed a round trip to Sydney in Australia and flew “just like a big beautiful bird,” <<use without the commas—ed>> said pilot Henting Fleudal.

Pilots will be used to test fly the aircraft, although they will in effect only be observers as the craft are controlled from the ground.

The triple-decker aircraft, capable of carrying up to 2,000 passengers at speeds of 10,750mph for up to three days at a time, is the result of a top secret project between Hyundai and its Limerick inventor Padraic Moloney.

Built at Centre in County Limerick, the upper deck boasts a botanical garden with fish-stocked lakes, an exotic wildlife park and a game reserve stocked with rare species. Hotels and shops fill the centre deck while the lower deck is split up into restaurants, passenger relaxation areas, internet cafes and simulated SWAPA flight control cabins for the adventurous.

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Padraic Moloney was sitting in a Limerick city bar when a broken slashhook blade flew past his head, almost decapitating him. That was nine years ago.

"I knew at the time it had some deeper significance and that one day I would find it," he told Newsmedianews.

Two years later a chance encounter in another bar with a senior Hyundai projects development manager was to complete his quest and the development of the world's first ever Swappa.

The Swappa glides silently back into Shannon Airport
through the dawn mist after its test flight to Sydney

The stability of the wingless craft is provided by a gyroscopic outer skin and numerous jet outlets that eject powerful streams of air at an angle, powered by the aircraft's own nuclear reactor.

"That was almost the sticking point of the whole project," said Hyundai owner Flea Flore YurLyfe.

"People were at first reluctant to express an interest in a project that basically involved flying a nuclear reactor over their countries and cities, though Saddam Hussein had expressed strong initial interest," said Mr YurLyfe.




radiation free

Hyundai successfully overcame the objections by redesigning the nuclear reactor to use non-radioactive fuel made by Guinness and the project received an initial 300 orders from around the world.

With an estimated price tag of around £25 billion an aircraft, such advance orders ensured the financial viability of Hyundai's investment in the project.

Longer and wider than the largest tanker on the ocean today, the 180,000 tonne aircraft is constructed from superlight alloy with a tensile strength higher than molybdenum.

Unlike a conventional aircraft, the pilot's cabin is located in the upper section of the tail and the front area of the aircraft is given over to passenger observation areas.

"We acknowledged the design experts who said that passengers might become disoriented and unpredictable due to flying in such a novel aircraft, so we included the observation areas where specially trained staff will keep an eye on those passengers who may develop airborne behavioural irregularities," said Mr YurLyfe.

Mr Moloney, who spent most of the test flight in one of the on-board hotel's saunas watching the latest Hannibal Lector movie on wide screen, said he had enjoyed the experience but would be complaining about the attitudes of some of the forward observation area staff.

The aircraft is capable of absorbing its own supersonic bang through ingenious vacuum arrangements in the tail designed by Hoover, which suck back the sound waves.

Test flights are due to continue for some time before the aircraft comes into commercial use. The final production models will be pilotless and will be controlled by staff sitting before joysticks and computer screens at a secret location in the Connemara hills.

A female passenger is restrained by a member of the forward observation staff after the webbed fingered woman began stripping off in excitement during take-off



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