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Amphibious

The iChange shape-changing concept car

Each year for the last three decades, Swiss-based Rinspeed has presented a new concept car at the Geneva motor show – customizing Porsches might be the company’s bread and butter, but synthesizing highly inventive and original concept cars is the company’s forte. This year’s concept car is entitled the iChange, and its defining feature is its ability to change shape from a streamlined teardrop one-seater, to a three seat compact sportsvan. The iChange car makes the most of its 130 kw electric propulsion system by having very low weight and high aerodynamic efficiency.  Read More

The Hov Pod.

UK based Reaction International Ltd. has added to its line of personal leisure hovercraft with the Hov Pod SPX 120 Turbo. Powered by a 120 HP 4 stroke Weber engine which offers greater performance and range, the SPX 120 hovers at a height of 9-inches over any flat surface, including water, ice, snow, sand, mud or grass and can reach speeds approaching 50mph on water. It's also buoyant enough to take over a ton in weight before water ingresses into the hull, making it suitable for commercial, patrol and rescue use.  Read More

ICON A5 - first flight
 Photo: ICON Aircraft

ICON Aircraft has passed a key hurdle in the development of its innovative, amphibious sport plane design by successfully completing its maiden test flight. The full-scale prototype of the composite carbon fiber, two-seater A5 took to the skies at an undisclosed lake location in California on July 9, demonstrating the aircraft’s performance and flying characteristics during take-off, landing, and low-speed maneuvering flight as well as it on-water capabilities. The versatile A5, which has a folding wing design for easy transport and storage as well as retractable landing gear for flying off land and water, is set to undergo a series of test flights throughout the next year with a view to putting the finishing touches on the design and building a pre-production model for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and ASTM compliance. Production is expected to commence in late 2010.  Read More

ICON Aircraft unveils fold-up amphibious sports plane

A recurring theme at Gizmag in recent times has been the growing accessibility of the recreational sports aircraft, with manufacturers offering increasingly versatile and user-friendly designs combined with falling price points. Like the Cessna SkyCatcher, the ICON A5, which was officially unveiled last week in Los Angeles, is a case in point. Powered by a 100hp Rotax 912 ULS engine achieving an estimated maximum speed of 105 kts (120 mph) and a range of 300 nm, the amphibious, two-seat, composite carbon fiber plane features a sportscar inspired cockpit and retractable landing gear for flying off land and water, but the standout element is the folding wing design which allows the plane to be towed on the road like a speed boat and stored at home rather than paying for space at an airport.  Read More

Rinspeed sQuba

May 7, 2008 Following its preview late last year and head turning debut at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, it's time we took a closer look at the sQuba - a James Bond inspired, zero-emissions, electric aqua-car from Frank M. Rinderknecht and the concept magicians at Rinspeed that "moves like a fish in water" to depths of up to 33 feet (10 meters) and still manages to reach speeds of around 75mph (120kmh) when on terra firma. Continuing its ongoing relationship with Rinspeed, Swiss engineering firm Esoro was hired as the general contractor on the project - which amazingly took only six months complete - and replacing the combustion engine with a series of electric motors was the first task.  Read More

The Tang Hua Detroit Fish Concept

One of the oddest-looking, and most bizarrely named cars at the North American International Auto Show was an amphibious people carrier named the Detroit Fish, along with two other equally eccentric, electric car concepts, named the “Book of Songs” and “Piece of Cloud” respectively. All three come from the design studios of respected Chinese auto designer Li Guangming, who wants to create a unique Chinese design language, and he sees these rounded little cars as a starting point. “There will be no Chinese national cars of significance if the Chinese spirit is absent from their design,” he said. The Detroit Fish has a 3.5kW electric motor and Lithium Ion battery pack, giving a range of 150km and a top speed of 45kmh, making them ideal for “tourist spots, large communities, university campuses and small towns”.  Read More

Sealegs amphibious on-water record

December 7, 2007 Earlier this week we reported on a planned record attempt by Sealegs to become the fastest amphibious vehicle in the World on water - a goal which the company achieved earlier today at speeds of more than 100kmh (62mph).  Read More

Lisa's Akoya

The €300,000 Lisa Akoya seems to open up a new category of aircraft. Designed to fly from airstrip to yacht to ski slope, the sporty multi-access amphibian caters perfectly to the business/leisure niche of the very wealthy. Entirely built from high-tech composite materials and capable of landing on a mere 100-metre strip, the luxurious Akoya also features a swivelling wing to make it storable in a narrow garage or on a yacht.  Read More

The Ramphos flying boat with wheels - a true all-rounder.

August 1, 2007 With disposable income levels running high, expensive hobbies like aviation are coming within the reach of more and more people – and hobby pilots are discovering that small planes are coming down to a price point on a par with a touring motorcycle or midrange car. Owning a small plane has its drawbacks though – storing and transporting them can be difficult, not to mention the fact that you need an airstrip to take off and land from. The Italian Ramphos, however, suffers none of these issues. It’s an amphibious flying boat that’s just as happy taking off and landing on water as on land with its retractable wheels. You can tow it around on a trailer, and like the best of late-night TV exercise equipment, it folds for easy storage. This purpose-built little 2-seater is effortlessly easy to fly, handles like a dream and offers a very affordable, practical and exhilarating way to explore the local lakes and coastlines with maximum thrills for minimum fuss.  Read More

An early CAD design of the Water Runner Robot, also showing the basilisk lizard's water-ru...

July 27, 2007 The NanoRobotics team at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) are working on a robot that walks on water, mimicking the Basilisk, or "Jesus Lizard" that's famous for its ability to dash across a water surface on its hind legs. Researchers see amphibious potential in the water-walking robot, as well as a possible efficiency boost in comparison to a boat, because a vehicle that runs across the surface of water experiences very little viscous drag. Computer simulations have been encouraging, demonstrating a few possible efficiency gains in the design and motion over the evolutionary model provided by the Basilisk, particularly with the option of using two or more sets of running legs. Several leg designs have been tested (see one in action in this video (MP4)) but the researchers are still working on an operating prototype.  Read More

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