Regent – Electric coastal travel

Regent – Electric coastal travel



@ggm 6d
We've sold over 467 seagliders with a $7.9B order backlog spanning global aviation and ferry customers.

I would think this is pre-launch sales. It's probably hedged with "subject to certification" risk, but it's still pretty solid, and if it came with sufficient deposit fundings to bootstrap the assembly line, all to the good. But, my understanding is that both boats and aircraft (and this is a join over the two) incur pretty high compliance costs for insurance and regulatory certification. Its a long slow process, it is not as simple as "do it in the USA and it's done" by any stretch.

(their FAQ says: "REGENT’s seagliders are regulated as maritime vessels, not airplanes.")

Many transport manufacturing startups come unstuck with actually making product. Real-world consequences to advanced materials, the massive cost-suck of making the goods repeatably buildable without a huge tail-cost of remediation, digging out from development cost, it's a nightmare.

I'd love this to work, Having flown as a passenger on small aircraft island hoppers in New Caledonia to get to Isle des Pins and like places in other countries, There definitely is a niche for "get from A to B, with sea between" which this suits.

It's also possible there's a set of marine/air conditions this is better than aircraft for: it stays below 100m would make it much easier to "fly" in some conditions. Equally, if its really only coastal/lake waters and not when its more than 2m swell (arbitrary figure for example purposes) then its launch conditions could be highly variable.

Could this to Vancouver to the Island? The Island to The Olympic peninsula? Seattle into the sound? Could it make the Catalinas from California coastline? Or Baja Cali to the "mainland" of Mexico?

@Reason077 6d
What are the operating limits in terms of weather? At only 10m above the surface, I assume bad things could happen in stormy conditions! I'm guessing these will be best suited to sheltered areas and fair-weather tourist operations?
@robbywashere_ 6d
How about a boring ass electric train
@lacker 6d
It would be pretty fantastic if this could go San Francisco to Los Angeles. A traditional plane flight takes so long at the airport, it ends up barely worth it.

High speed rail in California would also be great, but they've been working on it for 15 years already, and at this rate, it doesn't look like the project will finish in the next 50 years.

@rustyconover 6d
What if a slow moving sailboat came across this plane’s path? If it is using ground effect it couldn’t climb much.
@biomcgary 6d
In the video, it looks like it is fly above the typical ground effect height (1 wingspan or less).
@fnord77 6d
"In high winds, take-off must be into the wind, which takes the craft across successive lines of waves, causing heavy pounding, stressing the craft and creating an uncomfortable ride. In light winds, waves may be in any direction, which can make control difficult as each wave causes the vehicle to both pitch and roll. The lighter construction of GEVs makes their ability to operate in higher sea states less than that of conventional ships, but greater than the ability of hovercraft or hydrofoils, which are closer to the water surface. The demise of the conventional seaplane was a result of its inability to operate in rough sea conditions even while flying conditions were good, and its use lasted only until runways were more commonly available. GEVs are similarly limited."
@wthalheimer 6d
Hey guys - Billy Thalheimer, Co-founder and CEO of REGENT here. A friend reached out to say this is blowing up - so cool! (Thank you beefman lol) Here to answer any questions
@ferjdghfyhff 6d
remember the hovercrafts from uk to Netherlands?

this will be the same crap. novelty everyone will pay extra, to then get annoyed it was cancelled because of little tiny waves they day.

@graycat 6d
I'm reminded of the Boeing 314 "Clipper" flying boat,

Apparently it did have range enough for, say, between LA and SF, non-stop.

@lastofthemojito 6d
I was initially skeptical, but seeing Mokulele Airlines (an airline serving Hawaii) flash by on the carousel made me consider that this might have at least some real-world uses.

It's insane to me that the vast majority of inter-island travel in Hawaii (an archipelago where generally each island is visible from the next) is via jet aircraft. You have to spend hours (especially if you're checking bags) getting to the airport early, going through security, waiting at the gate, taxiing, etc ... for a 20 minute flight.

There used to be a ferry between Oahu and Maui but it got killed due to real and perceived environmental impact:

A light electric ferry service like this, directly between say, Ala Wai and Lahaina harbors, skipping airport/TSA nonsense, could be a very successful premium product. I just hope from there it could be scaled up so that it wouldn't remain just a niche offering for the rich.

@simonw 6d
If you haven't encountered wing-in-ground-effect vehicles before I have a treat in store for you... go and read about the Soviet Lun-class ekranoplan:

Then check out this Livejournal post where someone snuck into a dry dock and took photos of a rusty old one... including photos taken inside!

@happyjack 6d
I can tell by all the comments that not many people here are pilots or work with the FAA on type certification lol
@temp123789246 6d
Does this require a pilots license? (Couldn’t find the answer after skimming the website)
@jordemort 6d
I'd love to see this in Lake Michigan doing a route from Milwaukee through Chicago and all the way up to Traverse City, with stops at all the cool little towns on the Michigan lakefront along the way. Probably not viable as a year-round thing around here but it could be great fun in the summer.
@lchengify 6d
Have you looked at the Seattle area / PNW as a use case at all? I imagine the geography would be perfect for a solution like this.

Seattle has a pretty extensive ferry system that they are in the process of electrifying [1]. It's great for what ferries are, but I would love more options between islands. Some of the less popular options are limited seasonally, I imagine this is a matter of economics.

Also I can tell you that the ferries to / from Victoria Island fill up fast and require reserving slots in advance if you have a car. It's also a 3-ish hour ride that can be very unpleasant if you hit bad weather. I've often driven the long way around rather than do that trip.


@w10-1 6d
What's the legal authority permitting "seagliders" to carry passengers but escape aviation regulations? Or to use navigable waterways at high speed when other maritime users are severely restricted in speed? I doubt any historical exceptions would stand up to significant use.

What's the real benefit? Actual ground effect is strong but very, very limited - to about the width of the wing. The (wallowing) demo flight is well above ground effect. Also, the demo's downswept wingtips provide a lot of the "ground effect" benefit.

Most importantly, all of this could be done more cheaply and reliably with internal combustion engines. Why hasn't it already been done, if the demand is so strong?

Sorry, but the technical and legal loopholes seem way too small to thread.

@jakemcgraw 6d
Depending on the number of trips per day, this has the potential to greatly reduce summertime traffic from tristate region to Cape Cod / Nantucket / Martha's Vineyard / LI North Shore / Montauk.
@nroach 6d
How do you avoid bird strikes? At least near me, seabirds +180mph ground effect seems problematic
@cwkoss 6d
How safe are these? I feel like a big wave could destabilize, then hitting the water at 180mph would be bad news.
@micheljansen 6d
I'm hoping this takes off (unintended pun, but I'll leave it in). Nibble away at use cases for hydrocarbon-powered jet flights with alternatives like these until there's nothing left and/or we have a sustainable alternative for what remains.
@euroderf 6d
Finland would like to hear from you. IMO the use case is not so different from Hawai'i.
@eranation 6d
@yafbum 6d
It says it will go up to 180 mph... am wondering how the ride feels at that speed. Open water areas can be a pretty turbulent place in terms of wind, and I imagine that flying so fast and so low would feel a bit scary when the wind swings you around