Seaglider Service Planned For Florida


A partnership between electric seaglider manufacturer REGENT and regional air mobility platform Surf Air Mobility is set to bring all-electric seaglider operations to South Florida. The partnership, announced Oct. 12, will establish a hub in Miami providing passenger transport service routes from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and the Caribbean Islands. According to the announcement, 9 million passengers travel through South Florida each year via various modes—air, ferry, rail and car. REGENT’s Viceroy Seaglider operates as a boat, hydrofoil or aircraft in ground effect, and the company says it expects to carry 1.5 million passengers a year.

“REGENT seagliders are a great solution to the growing transportation needs of residents and visitors in Miami and South Florida,” said Stan Little, CEO of Surf Air Mobility. “By leveraging our platform at Surf Air to bring new, electrified transportation to market, we believe REGENT seagliders can unlock new routes along Florida’s coastal corridors that complement our existing service networks and furthers our commitment to operating an electrified fleet.” As part of its plan, REGENT will deliver Viceroy seagliders to Mokulele Airlines—a subsidiary of Southern Airways, which was recently purchased by Surf Air Mobility. The seaglider aircraft can accommodate 12 passengers and can cover distances of up to 160 nautical miles, with a cruise speed of 160 knots. REGENT expects the electric seaglider to enter service in 2025.

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.

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  1. Any way to participate in the “futures” or “Over/under” for this venture? Press releases are easy to produce–LIVING UP TO THE PROMISES IS HARD. In 60 years of promised “breakthrough ideas”–it’s easy to be skeptical. I can’t name a “sea glider” concept that has ever worked. If I recall, the Russians tried this decades ago–never heard from since.

    Ground effect equals roughly the wingspan of the aircraft, as a rule of thumb. Can you imagine skimming over the water at minimum altitude in an unmanned aircraft–dodging boats, parasails, tankers, and whatever else is out there? ME EITHER!

  2. NTSB final report released: Cause of crash low flying e-plane vs. high flying dolphin.

    I’ll feel sad for the dolphin and the hapless pilot of the e-plane. The e-plane itself I could live without.

  3. Flying at 160 kts 60 feet above the water doesn’t give you much time or altitude to avoid obstacles. I’m a commercial seaplane pilot. I like to be 500 feet above the landing area to look for watercraft, obstacles, underwater rocks or trees, wind direction and velocity and water condition before landing. I don’t see how you could do that at 60 feet AGL.

    • Hard to comply with the FARs while in “ground effect”–60 feet:

      § 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.
      Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

      (a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

      (b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

      (c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

      Can you imagine, departing or approaching a harbor–getting this thing up to 1000′ above an obstacle (including a boat) within 2000′ horizontally?
      Given the sea traffic on a river, lake, offshore or in harbor at any popular coastal town or resort–a pilot would have to be constantly maneuvering at very low altitude to avoid to provide a 500′ lateral separation.

      Having to go to displacement taxiing would negate much of any possible time saved.

      • I think they’re trying to avoid aviation FAR’s altogether by claiming that a “ground-effects” craft is a marine vessel and not an aircraft. They’ll only have to worry about that if this thing actually gets off the ground…err water…

  4. Cue “Fantasy Island” opening music. Tattoo runs in yeling, “Da Seaglider, Da Seaglider” Somehow doesn’t ring true.

  5. Ground effect aircraft work but as said before they have limited region in which they work. the military is looking at a large cargo seaplane, that would fly like an aircraft at low gross weights but at high gross weight would operate in ground effect over the ocean.

  6. Hmmmmmm, “Expects to be in service in 2025” On their web site they appear to have a remote control model with maybe a 15’-20’ wingspan and under careers they appear to be searching for the entire team. While I wish them luck, I’ll be highly impressed if they can get something together by 2028 let alone 2025. Dodging boats is bad enough in that area but can anybody say bird strike? Particularly 11lbs of Brown Pelican strike? Maybe that’s why the front windshield is steeply raked……

  7. 1.5 million passengers, twelve at a time, every year? So that works out to 342 flights every day.

    Impressive that they figured out how to charge batteries fast enough for 14 flights every hour! That’s incredible!

    • Avweb has a threshold policy of not publishing anything about most accidents. I think it’s time to — likewise — refrain from publishing outlandish claims such as this article, as well. There ought to be some sort of threshold before they allow crap like this any ‘air’ time. They’re wasting all of our time!

      • This so beyond the pale as far as Impossible timelines and unheard of duty cycles that publishers can use the word “lie” to describe it.

      • Absolutely agree. It is difficult to parse the difference between “emerging new technology” that may portend the future and something that exhibits little forethought—has little financial backing–has no demonstrator model–is created by someone with little experience in FAA certification–and has no documented experience in the realities of the operation. Today, it’s called “vaporware.”

        My aviation experience and publication go back over 60 years–I’ve seen “ground (sea) effect vehicles proposed many times over the years–but none have been successful.

        News and technical publications like AvWeb are useful to the industry in keeping subscribers abreast of new innovations–and articles like this does not enhance the reputation of the publishers.

        Perhaps a new classification for concept aircraft is called for–“concept aircraft”–it would make for interesting discussion and feedback (look at the comments this example has driven!)–the “concept aircraft” title would let readers know that it is just that–a concept. It could even HELP the emerging technology by reporting the results of flight test (assuming it gets that far) by airing the progress of the proposal.