A different sort of electric aircraft has been quietly undergoing flight tests—and sea trials—for a month and the company behind what it calls the seaglider is convinced it’s the future for regional flights in coastal areas. REGENT’s proof-of-concept ground effect aircraft is also a hydrofoil and boat. It taxis in boat mode, deploys the hydrofoils for the takeoff run and appears to leap off the water at V1. From there it cruises about 20 feet above the waves. The test article precedes a 12-passenger version it calls the Viceroy and REGENT claims it will reduce time and cost for the hundreds of scheduled flights worldwide that have water access.
“The seagliders will slash the cost and time of regional trips, predicting Los Angeles to San Francisco or Boston to New York in 2 hours 15 minutes for $100 or Miami to the Bahamas in 1 hour 20 minutes for $63,” the company said in a news release. REGENT says the vehicle will go as fast as 200 MPH and the Viceroy will initially have a range of 180 miles. Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele Airlines have partnered with REGENT for the project and Hawaiian has ordered at least five copies of a 100-seat version called the Monarch. REGENT claims the airliner-sized version will be ready by 2028.