Battery weight is always a problem for electric-powered flight. No reason to think this type of machine would be any different, meaning the economics of the idea remain questionable.
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Ferry operator Brittany Ferries has announced that it will work with US-based start-up Regent Craft to develop sea-skimming “flying ferries” that could reduce sailing times between England and France to as little as 40 minutes, says E&T.
Brittany Ferries described the proposed battery-powered vehicle as combining “the convenience of passenger ferries with the comfort of hydrofoils, the aerodynamic efficiency of hovercraft and the speed of aircraft”.
It resembles a small aircraft which skims the surface of the sea. It uses the wing-in ground effect, which would involve riding on a cushion of air trapped between a wing and the water surface; this is similar to how a hovercraft supports itself as it moves.
Following departure from a port, the craft rises on foils insulating passengers from discomfort. In open waters, it takes off, riding its air cushion all the way to its destination.
Wing-mounted propellers provide the thrust to take to the air at low speeds, while electric motors regulate air flow over wings while riding the air cushion.
It will skim the sea at speeds reaching 180mph and will require “minimal power” to move hundreds of passengers, Brittany Ferries said, covering 180 miles on a single charge.
The “flying ferry” could carry 50-150 people across the Channel in just 40 minutes (the crossing from Portsmouth to Cherbourg takes approximately five hours by conventional ferry). It hopes to start running commercial operations in 2028.
Brittany Ferries acknowledged that its plan will face considerable “technical and regulatory challenges” but said that this should not be a barrier to pursuing promising, sustainable technologies.
Full article here.
via Tallbloke’s Talkshop
June 21, 2021