“Regent’s hotly anticipated Seaglider is up, up and away,” writes cnbc.com. The news outlet also offers an exciting video alongside the article, showing the company’s prototype seaplane taking a test flight across the waters of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island to prove this unique craft can “float, foil and fly”.
The first version the company aims to roll out, called the Viceroy, will be able to carry 12 passengers between coastal or island destinations faster than buses, trains or traditional ferries, and at a lower price than a commercial flight. To prepare for this launch, Regent has built a quarter-scale version of the Viceroy for testing (see video).
The article states, “This prototype, nicknamed ‘the Squire’, was able to motor out of a harbour in Rhode Island slowly, then launch from a speed of about 40 mph into the air, where it flew about 10 feet above the ocean at a speed of close to 50 mph. The commercial version will fly higher above the water at speeds of up to 180 mph.” The aim: customers can travel to a dock and board these seaplanes like they would a regular ferry or water taxi.
The article continues, “(The craft) which launches and lands with the help of remote controls and a partly automated system, traverses through a harbour and amid boat traffic, powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It cuts through the waves on hydrofoils, which are like underwater stilts or wings that give a boat tremendous wave tolerance, making for a smooth ride even in choppy waters.”
And goes on, “Once on the edge of the harbour, the Regent seaglider accelerates and takes off, staying within one wingspan of the water’s surface.”
Mike Klinker, Founder and CTO of Regent, commented, “It’s like flying on a cushion of air, something like a pelican.” According to Kinker, the difficult part is designing a craft that can make the transition from floating on a hydrofoil to lifting above the water.
He continues, “When the vehicle is in the hydrofoils, it’s like driving above the water surface on stilts. The waves pass beneath you. You’re really insulated from any waves or instability that would make a traditional boat ride uncomfortable for a passenger.”
Once the boat lifts off the surface and has pulled those hydrofoils out of the water, “It is similar to being in a traditional airliner where it’s a very smooth ride with the exception that we are flying low over the surface of the water, giving you something like a second-story house window type of view of the ocean, and a great view of the cities around you.”
Regent aims for the Viceroy seaglider to enter service by the end of 2025. The company is also developing a 100-passenger version dubbed the Monarch, that can carry 25,000 pounds of payload. It hopes to launch this larger craft into service by the end of 2028.
Regent says it has already attracted a backlog of USD7 billion worth of orders for its seagliders.
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(News Source: https://www.cnbc.com)