Aircraft carriers have been catapulting off aircraft for many years now, so that technology is not strange. At the same time, magnetic propulsion is becoming more and more common for various purposes. So why are these two technologies not combined for commercial aircraft? Imagine a rail track a few kilometers long or so with a gentle slope in one end going a few hundred meters into the air. If you used magnets to accelerate aircraft down that rail track, you could have aircraft moving at cruise speeds a few hundred meters above the ground without using any fuel at all, meaning the total weight of the aircraft can be reduced, which in turn saves fuel throughout the entire trip. Apart from the fuel saving advantages, you also get noise reduction since aircraft will be high up and far away before increasing engine thrust. This means you could build this ramp very close to cities. If you let it rise into the air earlier, you could even let it go above small cities if space is a really big issue. I found this article: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/space/01/03/maglev.launches/index.html Five years ago, someone apparently believed we'd have aircraft launching like this now. But I haven't even heard it being suggested in mainstream media since then, despite all the talk about global warming and such. So why aren't we seeing this?