It is estimated that the USA alone has a cumulative runway shortage of 80km (50 miles) and that delays cost the industry $3,600 an hour - or $1 a second. Runway Independent Aircraft (RIA) operating from V/STOL pads or short stub runways and following simultaneous non-interfering procedures such as steep 6-9° approaches, could increase airport throughput by as much as 50%, say RIA proponents.

They say the benefits will come not just in savings from reduced delays at hub airports, but generating income from new services.

RIA vehicles are chiefly aimed at stage length routes averaging 320-480km, which are steadily being abandoned as turboprops are grounded in favour of jets. Tiltrotors and Reverse Velocity Rotorcraft will not only be able to operate faster services than turboprops on short-haul routes, by eliminating the need for time-consuming approaches, departures and holding patterns, but will open up flights into the many thousands of local US airports with runways of 1,220m or less and long ago abandoned by the mainline carriers.

Source: Flight International