Singapore-based Wigetworks has released its version of the small passenger ekranoplan, the Airfish 8. It has passed all stages of testing and registration, and will go into small-scale production starting next year and begin transporting important passengers between mainland China and island Singapore. As an alternative to both sea and air transport.
Wigetworks engineers built Airfish 8 using patents and technologies from AirFoil Development, in whose subsidiary Alexander Martin Lippisch worked. In the 1960s, he designed flying wing machines and is considered one of the pioneers in ekranoplane construction. However, unlike the Soviet "Caspian monsters", Lippish loved the "reverse triangle" designs, so his cars were much smaller. But due to the effect of the screen, they could rise much higher above the water (by 50% of the wingspan), leaving the waves far below.
Airfish 8 also has a triangular shape with an inverted "W" profile, which makes it look like a Star Wars guest in flight. The ekranoplan has a length of 17.2 m and a wingspan of 15 m, it can fly at altitudes of 0.6-7 m, with a cruising speed of 150 km / h for a range of up to 555 km. Only 8 passengers with luggage and two crew members can be accommodated on board, which simplifies the requirements for pilot qualifications to operate the aircraft.
For takeoff and landing, Airfish 8 does not require any engineering structures, only a more or less large body of water, as for a seaplane. However, it is the takeoff and landing that are its weakest points - the Singapore ekranoplan can safely fly over storm waves, but at the moment of contact with water it becomes very vulnerable. However, this is a question of the company's policy, whether to take risks and carry VIP-clients when bad weather drove all competitors into the harbor, or not.