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While conventional ships travel at less than 30
knots, and the new Flying Ship is effectively cruising at the speed
of an aircraft at around 80 knots and above. The class of vehicles
that is mentioned are popularly known as Ground Effect Vehicles, or
Wing in Ground (WIG) Effect Vehicles, but could be better described
as Sea Skimmers, because what makes this class of craft unique is
the fact that they fly at altitudes on the order of tens of feet, or
a few meters. In so doing, they take advantage of a peculiar
aerodynamic principle known as the ground effect. What is also
really important to realize is that these craft are boats not
aircraft and in every way are controlled by Marine regulations and
construction standards not aviation.
The beauty of ground
effect is that a given amount of wing area produces more lift near
the ground than it would at high altitude. Or in other words, the
same payload can be transported with a much smaller wing, which
translates directly into a smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient
craft. The principal advantage of such Sea Skimming vehicles is the
ability to move massive loads in a craft with a relatively small
wingspan and low aspect ratio wing with great aerodynamic
With the High Fuel consumption and the
operational cost output of the helicopter and aircraft, Sea
Skimming, Wing in Ground Effect vehicles will be a darling for the
Indonesia Archipelago. Aside from appealing to island-hopping
executives, Chris Holloway, the manufacturer for Sea Skimming WIG
craft Sea Eagle hopes to grow a market among police and customs
authorities in archipelago countries. He claims the Sea Eagle uses
one-fourth the fuel a helicopter needs and is much quieter.
With global community spreading further and further from the cities
and onto the islands and archipelagoes, the need for fast, efficient
and reliable transport has never been greater and is going to
increase as time goes on. Conventional transport is either slow or
expensive in our fast moving world. Sea Eagle offers an alternative
that needs no infrastructure beyond a smooth beach or jetty. Also in
developing countries where inter island travel and trade was
difficult or impossible before, Sea Eagle offers an alternative that
opens many more possibilities for trade and transport. Imagine that
the Craft is able to travel from Singapore to Batam Island in 15
minutes, without the need for additional docking facilities.
As the uses and acceptance of Sea Skimming machines grows, so also
will the size of craft available to the market. One of the beauties
of ground Effect is that the larger the craft is the more efficient
it becomes, so it is realistic to envisage that the future will see
Sea Skimming ground effect craft many times bigger than aircraft to
fill the niche between slow ships and expensive planes. Already
craft have been built for military applications of over 500 tons.
Even we at Sea Eagle have started to look at possible designs that
could utilize existing shipping ports and be many times larger than
The need for faster commuter transport
around populated harbors has never been greater and growing. If we
consider that nearly all major cities of the world are located on
waterways, the market for water based transit is enormous.
Sea Skimming WIG craft fill a niche between ships and aircraft, they
will be able to better serve the needs of the consumers that have
for too long not been able to trade to maximum effectiveness.
If we consider the areas mentioned above, in particular the
seafood and fresh produce, these would get to market in prime
condition but a fraction of the cost making trade much more even and
accessible to these primary producers.
The Sea Eagle is a Sea
Skimming Wing-in-ground-effect craft, this means that it has been
specially designed to operate in the Ground effect range, and to
maximize the stability and fuel efficiency of this mode and to offer
a platform that gives the flexibility of a Hovercraft, the speed of
a Plane and fuel burn and overall cost analysis less than both.
With all the marketing advantages available for the emergence of
this Wing-in-ground-effect craft, we will be seeing a new marine
transportation revolution soon.