WIG Ships: The technology of low flying boats is reaching the tipping point
Imagine if a small aircraft so efficient it uses only a third of the fuel associated with modern planes. By harnessing the lift generated by flying close to the surface of the ocean, flying boats, called WIG’s (Wing In Ground), are able to travel at 200KMPH and up to 150m above the sea-level with low fuel consumption.
Strangely enough, vehicles that fly this close to the surface of the water aren’t classified as aircraft – but as boats instead. After two decades of product development by different nations, these oddities are starting to be developed with passenger compartments large enough to be considered for commercial flights (or should that be cruises?).
By flying so close to the sea, the WIG generates a ground effect cushion of lift that it rides as it flies along, using much less fuel than ordinary aircraft. The flight is typically smooth and while several test craft fly close to 15m above the sea in normal flight, they are able to increase altitude for shorter distances; in order to manoeuvre or avoid obstacles, such as ships, safely.
Small military or civil WIG models have been built previously. But Korea now has a prototype craft capable of carrying 50 passengers and concepts that plan to carry nearly double that number. Bringing commercial use into reach.
Read more about WIG developments in Korea: HERE
Filed under: Blog Post | 7 Comments
Tags: Flying Boats, Ground Effect, WIG
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