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The Brodie system was a method for taking off and landing without a runway, circa 1945. The landing or taking off aircraft was hung on a wire held at the appropriate height:

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From PhotoBucket, Duggy009

It could be used on a ship too:

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From Youtube: Brodie Landing System

Two advantages of this system: Easy to conceal and capacity to operate to/from areas unsuitable for an airstrip.

This system seemed promising, especially for armies, but I never heard of subsequent use. Why was it discarded? or if it wasn't, what application do/did exist following this WW2 experimentation?.

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    $\begingroup$ Much like carrier landing, such landings would be another major set of stresses on the airframe. So, it requires extra structural strength and hardpoints, adding weight and reducing the effectiveness of the plane. With the proliferation of helicopters, aircraft carriers, and aerial refueling, the need for this kind of system all but evaporated. $\endgroup$ Nov 12 '16 at 21:49
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I'm not aware of the Brodie landing system used anywhere now. The system was actually a response to the pressing problem of non-availability of escort carriers in required numbers, similar to the British CAM ships, that launched hurricanes on one-way missions. The only difference being that the aircraft could be retrieved here.

The main advantage of the system is its ability to operate from (cargo) ships and LSTs, which became less important as the war progressed and more and more aircraft and escort carriers became available. There were some disadvantages too- it required certain skill from the pilot for landing (especially if installed in a jungle or on the top of a building). Also, a 600' cable between two 65' posts can hardly be called small (and as @ymb1 noted, it is hardly practicable for larger aircraft).

Helicopters serve the same purposes- operate from anywhere with much heavier payloads and in non-existent airstrips routinely.

However, similar systems are used for retrieval of small UAVs. For example, the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle uses a similar system of retrieval (though the launching system is different). From uavglobal.com:

ScanEagle needs no airfield for deployment. Instead, it is launched using a pneumatic launcher, patented by Insitu, known as the “SuperWedge” launcher. It is recovered using the “Skyhook” retrieval system, which uses a hook on the end of the wingtip to catch a rope hanging from a 30-to-50-foot (9.1 to 15 m) pole.

Scan Eagle

Scan Eagle retieval; By United States Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth R. Hendrix - Navy NewsStand Photo ID: 071114-N-5758H-065Navy NewsStand Home, Public Domain, Link


There are patents for a number of similar systems (eg 1,2 and 3). Interestingly, Insitu calls its skyhook system:

... the first capture system to eliminate runways and nets

Apparently, they didn't get the memo.

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    $\begingroup$ Besides, if you need to operate a tactical aircraft out of something other than a conventional runway or CATOBAR/STOBAR carrier, that's what Harriers are for ;) $\endgroup$ Nov 12 '16 at 22:26
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My Uncle worked on installing this system in India, Digri in July 1945. First problem was the tensioning of the wires which caused the pylons to buckle. So they found a new location and this time the wire anchors to the pylons pulled out of the ground due to ground conditions. In the end it was deemed a failure, was packed up, loaded on a train and never heard of again. I do remember him showing and instruction book on the system may years ago. He's passed on so whether is wife has that I don't know.

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