Incredible 'world first' hybrid seaglider vehicle completes test flights
An incredible hybrid boat and seaplane vehicle has completed successful flight tests. Designed for sustainable high-speed maritime travel, the so-called electric seaglider operates a few metres off the water's surface. Rhode Island-based company REGENT say it couples the high speed of an airplane with the low operating cost of a boat. The firm announced they achieved an initial series of flights of the craft, which they claim makes it the first to take off from a controlled hydrofoil to wing-borne flight. REGENT say the successful flight demonstration of a quarter-scale, 18-ft wingspan technology demonstrator in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, was the final step in proving the feasibility of seaglider technology. They are are now focused on developing the full-scale, 65-ft wingspan prototype, with human-carrying sea trials expected to begin in 2024. With a range of 180 miles (290 km) and able to fly at 180 mph (290 kph), REGENT have plans to service coastal communities such as New York City tand Tokyo. The company said: "The REGENT seaglider is the first-ever vehicle to successfully utilise three modes of maritime operation—floating, foiling and flying—marking a major step forward in maritime transportation." Billy Thalheimer, CEO and co-founder of REGENT, explains: "This is the next great moment in the history of human transportation. There has not been a new mode of transportation since the helicopter. "Seagliders will bring welcome relief for travelers seeking an alternative to traditional air travel servicing coastal communities such as New York City, the Hawaiian Islands, Barcelona, Tokyo, and many more worldwide. "40% of the world’s population lives in coastal communities. These successful flights give us full confidence in our ability to apply this technology at full scale and bring seagliders to global commercial service by 2025.” The REGENT seaglider is an all-electric wing-in-ground effect vehicle, meaning it flies low (within one wingspan) over the water to take advantage of numerous aerodynamic and operational efficiencies, enabling increased payload capability and greater range than other electric aircraft concepts. The seaglider operates in three modes: from the dock, the vehicle first drives on its hull like a traditional boat.
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