Boat-plane hybrid promises vertical take off from land or sea
A next-generation vehicle that is similar to a boat but flies just above sea level promises better fuel efficiency than planes while allowing for vertical take-off from either land or water.
London-based company Exclin said the Vertex Recreational Vehicle “will offer pilots an exhilarating, low-altitude flight over sea”.
While only a concept at the moment, it will be based on Vertex Lift System technology which allows vertical take-off and the ability to explore far-flung island locations beyond the range of a speedboat.
It will fly close to the water using “wing in ground-effect” (WIG) technology. Exclin claims it will be more efficient than a plane and faster than most boats.
This system also offers a level of stability and controlability that conventional WIG vehicles cannot.
This system takes conventional WIG technology and adds “lift thrust”, providing control and stability independent of vehicle speed.
Lift thrust means the vehicle will be able to take off vertically from a ground surface while still offering the flexibility of conventional take-off and landing on ground or water.
The Vertex flies just metres from the water’s surface but promises a less choppy ride than that experienced by speedboats.
When the vehicle is in ground-effect mode - flying a few metres from the water's surface - the lift system is designed to respond dynamically to changes in conditions such as gusts of wind, to give the vehicle extra stability and control.
In addition, the vehicle will have the ability to operate in free flight, up to the maximum altitude of 150m allowed for a WIG type B vehicle. Although this will not be as fuel-efficient, it means the vehicle can be operated safely in harsh conditions, such as rough seas.
The craft can also travel up to 150kph - meaning it can reach locations further afield than most boats, such as islands and distant coves.
The Vertex vehicle will be easy to fly and require limited training compared to an aircraft - giving it a low “barrier to entry” for pilots.
This lower bar could also make the craft suitable for luxury seaside hotels or resort villas.
To meet the specific needs of recreational pilots, it will be possible to separate the main wing from the body, in order to tow the Vertex Recreational Vehicle with a car.