ANSWERS: 3
  • There are two issues with your questions. First, there would have to be major modifications to any aircrft carier to be able to handle an aircraft that large. Secondly, there would have to be extensive modifications, perhaps prohibitive modifications, to make it possible for an airplane that large to operate off a carrier. The first issue is the carrier itself. In most cases, the maximum size of an aircarft operating on an aircraft carrier is the wingspan of the aircraft. The aircraft must be able to mainatin its position on the carrier deck and still have the wing clear the tower. The wing span of an Airbus or a 747 would hit the tower if it was launched from a carrier, making flight operations impossible. Theoretically, a carrier could be created that would have a flight deck that is wide enough to be able to handle a large jet. Additionally, the carrier deck would have to be lengthened significantly to allow the airplane to generate sufficient speed to stay airborne once it was launched. The only way to actually enable a carrier to handle something that large would be to scale up the size of the flight deck to be able to handle the flight operations. That could well make it impossible to keep the ship afloat with that large a flight deck. It could theoretically be built, but the question remains - why would you wnat to. But we still have to address the issue of the airplane itself. Carrier aircraft are built to take a lot of abuse. The comment that many non-Navy pilots say about carrier landings is that they are controlled crashes. The landing gear is much heavier than non-carrier based aircraft, and there are extensive modifications to the structural integrity of the aircraft to be able to handle carrier operations. Additionally, the carrier based aircraft must generate tremendous amounts of thrust to be able to stay airborne after the shot off the catapult. It is doubtful that the manufacturer could modify the airframe of an Airbus or a 747 to be able to handle carrier operations. Also, the impact on the aircrew of launching off a carrier is pretty violent. It is doubtful that any airline would be willing to run the risk of injury to the passengers from a carrier. Also, with the increases in range to most of the large sized jets, it becomes doubtful that there would be any need to modify either the carrier or the aircraft to handle
  • Oddly enough there was some research done on this scale of idea during WW2. As I recall by the British in using Icebergs or special ice. It was a top secret idea back then. The thing would have been almost indestructable to torpedoes & explosive mines.
  • I think the bigger question would be why would anyone on a jumbo jet WANT to land on an aircraft carrier? This is not feasible practical or even desirable.

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