JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 951
Sometimes things are designed that are so bulbous and so inflated and so terribly hyper-packed that they are just destined never to be built beyond the imagination. Among the largest of these things meant for the air was desined by a particularly streamlined designer, Norman Bel Geddes, who basically owned the concept of aerodynamic function at all levels of design in the 1930’s.
But Bel Geddes’ apoetically-named aircraft, Airliner 4, is an entirely different issue. It may possibly be the largest, slowest, lowest, fattest and most lumbering plane ever designed. (And by this I mean that it stood a chance of actually being built and flown, as opposed to the monsters with wing-topped tennis courts and such.)
This 530'-long 1.2 million pound beast took an hour to climb to its max ceiling of 10,000 feet where it would cruise along at an astonishing 100 mph. It would wind its way lovingly across the country, slicing off its travel hours like frozen bologna, 30 hours from coast-to-coast, slowly, methodically, so as not to disturb its 600 passnegers in their sleeping rooms. But I'm not sure how much sleep would get slept, what with 20 (!) 1900 hp engines screaming overhead.
The passengers who didn't sleep could do a lot besides sit and be serviced by the aircraft's crew of 155--they might actually need guides to get them through the oddness of the plane's 9 decks, 3 kitchens, 2 dining rooms, solarium, 100-couple dance floor, gym, barbershop and medical offices (with waiting room). Plus much, much more. (I like a plane with a doctor's office waiting room; perhaps the real genius would've been to come up with the smaller, more interior, extra waiting room to which one graduates before seeing The Doctor.)
In a struggling prose reminiscent of Lewis Sullivan Burnham