My original reason for starting to think about how ships would stay in the air came from me watching Battlestar Galactica. I was looking at the Raptors and I was wondering how the hell those un-aerodynamic things could stay in the air. It would obviously take a lot of thrust and energy to keep it in the air.
To cut a long story short, me thinking of one thing lead to me thinking of another and before long I was thinking about my Space 3000 universe which is where these scifi-ish thoughts usually take me. So how would a ship land? Well the smaller ships are usually VTOL with thrusters on the bottom of the ship similar to the BSG Raptors (only with a more aerodynamic design). However the larger ships, and I'm talking the ships that are over half a kilometer long (like the Aloadae II I poster earlier), they would simply use up way to much energy trying to land in the VTOL kind of way. Landing gears are out as well since a ship of this size would produce to much friction, both in the wheel mechanics and between the tires/ground so that would simply be to risky. Besides, maintenance would be a bitch. Think of all the poor engineers.
Then I got the idea. An idea that would shift the energy consumption from ship to ground allowing the ship to land without using a huge amount of energy. But where would the stopping force come from then? Well the ground. So I got the idea that what if the airstrip itself provided the entire force of keeping the spacecraft on(off) the ground.
Large ships would land on airstrips with a built-in combination of air pressure and magnets holding the ship of the ground during approach. The ship would then use its own forward thrusters to slow down until finally coming to a halt at the end of the airstrip. There it would deploy its landing gear on either the ground or a movable platform.
Think of it like airhockey only with half a kilometer long ships.
This way a lot of the energy would be used more efficiently and the ship itself would only have to provide the forward stopping force (by burning their forward thrusters at full). The downside might be that the landing strips would have to be pretty damn long, many kilometers long. Just like for modern space shuttles.
Even so, I think it's a great idea considering the alternatives. I'm just wondering if it has been thought of before.
So here is my concept of how it would look: