An incredible high-speed fighter-seaplane hybrid vehicle has passed successful flight tests and is now ready for production.
Designed for sustainable sea travel, the all-electric sea glider operates on hydrofoils a few meters above the water’s surface until it needs to fly.
Rhode Island-based company REGENT says it combines the high speed of an airplane with the low running costs of a boat.
“With orders totaling more than $7 billion, REGENT will commercialize sea gliders for sustainable high-speed, regional mobility with the first passengers boarding in 2025,” the company stated along with announcing that it will conduct a first series of test flights of the vessel. had realized.
Their test was of a 1/4 scale model and will now focus on developing the full-size prototype with a 65-foot wingspan to begin testing passenger flights in 2024.
“People have tried to [these] vehicles that are viable for 60 years, and in 15 months we went from a drawing on a napkin to the first successful flight,” said Mike Klinker, REGENT CTO and co-founder.
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With a range of 180 miles (290 km) and capable of flying at speeds of 180 mph (290 km/h), REGENT has plans to serve coastal communities such as New York City and Tokyo.
Last year, the founders of REGENT had raised nearly $10 million from investors including Mark Cuban and Peter Thiel.
“Sea gliders will be a welcome relief to travelers seeking an alternative to traditional air travel for coastal communities such as New York City, the Hawaiian Islands, Barcelona, Tokyo and many more around the world,” said Billy Thalheimer, CEO and co-founder of REGENT.
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REGENT emphasizes that the last time a new mode of transport was invented was the helicopter, and that the sea glider is breaking through this dry spell with its first-ever use of three modes of maritime operations – drifting, foiling and flying, in a single vessel.
“40% of the world’s population lives in coastal communities. These successful flights give us full confidence in our ability to fully adopt this technology and bring marine gliders to global commercial service by 2025.”
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The seaglider operates in three modes: from the dock, the vehicle first floats on its hull like a traditional boat.
As it leaves the port area and speeds up, it takes off on its hydrofoil, a key maritime technology that has become popular during the America’s Cup sailing competitions.
The hydrofoil offers significant wave tolerance and a smooth ride as the sea glider leaves a busy port.
Upon reaching open water, the sea glider takes flight, retracts the foil and accelerates to cruising speed – all while staying within a span of the water’s surface. This offers the benefits of numerous aerodynamic and operational efficiencies, enabling greater payload and range than other electric aircraft concepts.
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