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This (fake) video has stirred up a lot of questions online about whether such a scenario would be possible in reality - and the answer to those questions appears to be a resounding "No, that's very implausible."

But most of those answers seem to focus on the specifics of the Nissan truck - it would exceed its rated weight tolerance, it probably wouldn't be able to match the plane's speed...

What if an airport had specialized vehicles for this sort of thing, Thunderbirds-style? Could such vehicles be built, or would the engineering challenges just be too great to overcome?

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    $\begingroup$ Closely related, maybe a dupe? Although this question asks about a specialized vehicle, not a general-purpose one. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Apr 27 '18 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ Well, an aircraft carrier is a vehicle, isn't it? $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Apr 27 '18 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm... I was thinking the Semi powered by a jet engine might be just the vehicle for airliners. youtube.com/watch?v=qAkrzEqHHyA $\endgroup$ – jwzumwalt Jun 1 '18 at 20:42
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Yes, it potentially could, its a common air show stunt, but would it, most likely not. There was a similar scenario where the gear failed in a similar way and the plane was simply landed delicately on the bad gear. There were lots of sparks but everyone was ok. Ultimately its not worth the risk of the truck driver (should the gear crush them) aircraft generally speaking can survive belly landings should something go wrong with the gear.

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Smaller planes can pull it off, here is video from a weekend airshow somewhere. http://digg.com/video/plane-lands-on-truck Bigger planes, that's a lot weight. Even my Cessna Cardinal (4 passenger) could weigh close to 2500 lbs landing, basically a whole nother car on top of a truck. Maybe a car carrier would be good, longer landing ramp, clear front to fly over if needed.

Jets, that's a lot more speed to match up with.

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I think for airliners it is perhaps borderline possible but highly impractical.

Lets assume a 737 and google around the internet for some rough figures.

A 737 apparently lands at 155 knots which translates to around 180 miles per hour and has a max landing weight of about 65 tonnes. Apparent 4-20% of that can be on the nose gear. So that is up to 13 tonnes on the nose gear and up to 31 tonnes on each main gear. Dynamic loads can potentially be quite a bit higher than the static weight, even more so if the landing gear is damaged.

So you are looking at a vehicle with the speed of a supercar and the weight handling capacity of a large truck. That is going to be a nontrivial engineering challenge.

Then you need some mechanism for the trucks to safely interface with the plane. This is further complicated by the fact that the gear could be in almost any state.

Plus you need a runway with enough room for the trucks to accelerate, rendezvous with the plane and then slow down safely. Probably at least double the length you need for a normal landing.

Plus the rendezvous itself isn't going to be an easy procedure. Sure stunt pilots can do similar things in small planes but those planes fly much slower and are much more manoeuvrable than an airliner.

And then finally you would have to convince the authorities that this hairbrained scheme is at least as safe as just landing the plane with broken gear.

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