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Amphibious

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

Sealegs 7.1m amphibious boat commences production

July 19, 2007 Sealegs new 7.1 metre amphibious boat is about to commence volume production following successful sea trials. The NZ$98,000 (US$77,600) 7.1m Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) is the third and largest model released by the amphibious boat manufacturer and is expected to attract a lot of interest from tourism and water transportation operators. Its obvious strength is the additional space, which enables eight adults to be comfortably seated within its 700kg payload. It has a top land speed of 10 kph and with an 115hp motor can do up to 78 kph on water.  Read More

The Sealegs amphibious boat

July 12, 2007 Since the last time we caught up with the Kiwis behind Sealegs, the amphibious boat that can drive itself straight down into the water, worldwide sales have taken off. The eye-catching vehicle is a fully functional boat that drops "landing gear" much like a small plane to drive out of the water and overland at up to 6mph (10kph). Sealegs showcased their latest model in Australia recently at the Melbourne Boat Show - a 6.1 metre aluminium D-tube version that's essentially a ruggedized rigid inflatable - a bit heavier and around AUD$10K (US$8,600) more expensive than its predecessor, but it's a complete turnkey amphibious solution with extra armor for avid adventurers. A drive on trailer is now also available that adds high speed land transport to the equation.  Read More

Gibbs and Lockheed Martin to develop high speed amphibious vehicles for military use

April 3, 2007 The promise of robust, affordable and extremely practical commercial amphibian vehicles for domestic purposes moved much closer this week with the news that Lockheed Martin and Gibbs Technologies have agreed to develop a family of high speed amphibious vehicles designed specifically for military operations. The resultant vehicles will advance Gibbs technologies and almost certainly increase production to far more cost-efficient levels. The militarized High Speed Amphibians (HSAs) will use technology from a fleet of prototype amphibious vehicles developed by Gibbs Technologies for consumer use, including the Gibbs Aquada, a three-person sports car, Gibbs Humdinga, a four-wheel military vehicle, and Gibbs Quadski, an amphibious all terrain vehicle. Gibbs' technology enables amphibians to travel at speeds over 45 mph on water and over 100 mph on land - and to transition from water-to-land or land-to-water in five seconds. These features provide a much needed capability for military littoral, riverine and special operations.  Read More

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