Grey wrote:how you gonna land vertically on a runway, nigga?
Some Russian capsules (most/all?) land vertically with retro rockets, as opposed to the ocean landings used by the US program.
Anyway, regarding Skylon, a reusable airplane-type spaceship (especially a single stage to orbit one) has to be able to deal with a much smaller fuel fraction than a traditional rocket. As mentioned in the article, using atmospheric oxygen should help a lot, and using modern composites should help bring down the mass of the vehicle. It just remains to be seen how well it will perform, and if it can beat traditional rockets on payload cost.
On a technical note, the use of hydrogen for fuel implies that weight is a bigger concern than the greater technical issues it raises. Though the high heat capacity and speed of sound of hydrogen probably helps with the engine precooling section mentioned.