U.S-Based Regent announced this week it has gained an Approval in Principle (AiP) from Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore for its 12-passenger, fully electric, wing-in-ground effect (WIG) Seaglider named the Viceroy, reports a press release.

This AiP marks a significant certification milestone, offering a clear path for the vehicle’s classification as a WIG maritime vessel and the start of commercial seaglider operations. Regent currently has a backlog of USD7 billion in provisional orders for its Viceroy from ferry and aviation operators.

The Approval in Principle (AiP) is a validated third-party technical assessment for the seaglider completed by Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore (BVMO). The AiP is the culmination of a 10-month long engagement between Regent and Bureau Veritas engineers, which included a series of workshops encompassing aspects of the vehicle’s structure, mechanical systems, avionics, propulsion, and safety systems. Throughout the process, Bureau Veritas provided preliminary advice with a focus on the early identification of rules and regulatory framing for the seaglider’s classification.

Billy Thalheimer, co-founder and CEO of Regent, commented, “This certification milestone is an extremely important moment for the seaglider’s design and technical maturity. The Approval in Principle confirms we are on an achievable certification path towards the commercialization of seagliders.”

He continued, “Bureau Veritas has proven a tremendous partner in our certification activities to date and we are excited to strengthen the relationship as we look ahead to the next phase of our design approval process.”

Billy Thalheimer

And added, “The AiP is to be followed by a design appraisal process, a series of technical studies which are now underway that allows the implementation of the seaglider’s design and operation without significant risk of compliance or qualification issues.” BVMO will provide an independent, safety-based certification of the seaglider design.

Regent will also be leveraging the AiP in support of a Design Basis Agreement (DBA) with the US Coast Guard, which is expected this Autumn. The AiP and DBA form a classification and certification basis with both Bureau Veritas and the US Coast Guard, similar to the G-1 and G-2 issue paper used in FAA aircraft certification.

Laurent Leblanc, Senior Vice-President, Technical & Operations, Marine and Offshore of Bureau Veritas, remarked, “Our work with seagliders has been an opportunity for Bureau Veritas to further share and develop our expertise in new systems and technologies including electric propulsion systems, high-speed hydrofoils, and digital fly-by-wire control systems whilst also assessing the safety of these systems.”

Laurent Leblanc

Bureau Veritas is one of the world’s leading classification societies with over 190 years of reviewing and approving novel seagoing vessels such as Regent’s seagliders. This AiP marks an important milestone for the company before it commences serial production of the new vessel.”

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