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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

Bombardier 415 SuperScooper Amphibious Aircraft

March 5, 2007 When Bombardier Aerospace received the Batefuegos de oro award from the Asociacion para la Promocion de Actividades Socioculturales (APAS) for the "Greatest technological advancement in firefighting" last December, the jury described the company’s range-topping SuperScooper 415 as the “most efficient tool for the aerial combat of forest fires.” The 415 is the latest in a line of Bombardier amphibious aircraft which began with the CL-215 in the 1960s, though its capabilities are awesome compared to its predecessors. Though it only has a top speed of 359 km/h (224 mph), in an average mission of 11 kilometres (six nautical miles) distance from water to fire, it can complete nine drops within an hour, delivering 55,233 litres (14,589 U.S. gallons). Also known as the Superscooper aicraft, is a high-wing, all-metal amphibious aircraft designed specifically for aerial firefighting. It features a four-compartment, four-door water tank system that can hold 6137 litres (1621 US gallons) of water/foam mixture and refills its tanks by skimming the surface of any suitable body of water.  Read More

Killer amphibious vehicle - 39 mph on water and 55 mph on land

With waterfront property highly prized the world over, we see the amphibious market as one of the next great opportunities – the people with the greatest disposable income will have the greatest need for amphibians. At the same time, new techniques, technologies and materials are yielding a new breed of amphibious craft that are seemingly omnipotent. Most amphibious craft to date have been biased towards performance on land (such as the Splash, Commander, Amphicar, Platypus, Aquada and Humdinger) or water (such as the Aerosan or Sealegs here, and here). Only the Quadski seems to have a balance of performance on both, and it is limited to one, perhaps two people. Now a new technology threatens to seriously disrupt this marketplace. Fast Track Amphibian has entered the development phase for a product line of all-terrain amphibious vehicles using tracks as their means of propulsion on both water and land. Nearly all other amphibians comprise two drive systems – the FastTrack does it all with one, gaining a significant advantage in weight. The patent-pending technology that enables the tracks to work as the sole means of high-speed propulsion on water is unique. It enables a vehicle to “get out of the hole, over the hump and on to the plane from dead in the water. Videos of what this means in the real world can be found here. FastTrack equipped vehicles can start, stop and cruise on water like a boat as well as traverse diverse terrain, from ice and snow to swamps, deep mud, mountains and deserts - all at very high speeds. The first technology demonstrator can achieve 39 mph on water and 55 mph on land, all in comfort thanks to the air shocks and massive suspension system, which can be retracted or extended to suit the circumstance. The technology demonstrator carries six people at high-speed almost anywhere, giving it seemingly limitless opportunity in the areas of recreation, utility, search and rescue, ship-to-shore and military operations. Potential recreational uses include sports and racing, hunting and fishing, wilderness touring and camping. This vehicle will take you up a muddy hill in the forest better than a motorcycle, take swamp and tundra and ice and snow in its stride and enter and exit the water in almost any conditions … it is a genuine all terrain vehicle and transitions from one medium to another seamlessly. It makes very soft, comfortable, water entries at 40 mph and similarly smooth egresses at 20 mph. The first vehicles the company produces for non-military customers will be hand built and custom made for those who can afford to be the first owners of this unique machine. These vehicles will have aggressive styling, two or five place plush seating and 300 plus horsepower for speeds of 60 mph on water and 80 mph on land. More videos are available here, showing the FastTrack 1 driving down a country road, running on powder snow, pulling two water skiers, on the plane with tracks down and tracks up, a ramp entry into water at over 40 mph, and watch how easily it crosses this river. This short video shows the beastie doing 37 mph on water.  Read More

Leaving Dover with the famous White Cliffs in the background

November 15, 2006 Last week yet another successful crossing of the English Channel was made, this time by two Dutton S2 Commander amphibians which made the journey in 7 hours and 5 minutes travelling from Dover (UK) to Calais (France). The attempt fell well short of the Sealegs amphibious boat record of 43 minutes, and the Gibbs Aquada’s amphibious car record of one hour, 40 minutes but there are a few special attributes that should be considered. For starters, the Suzuki-based Dutton S2 is fully road registrable, has true 4WD capabilities, comes in petrol or diesel engine, right or left drive, and costs less than US$50,000 – it’s your genuine budget, works-out-of-the-box amphibian. Secondly, there was almost no planning involved and the crossing was done in less-than-ideal conditions to draw attention to the plight of a wildfowl reserve (wildfowl being amphibious creatures is the connection) and in ideal conditions a time of better than five hours could be expected. With 90 percent of the world's population living close to the water, amphibians make a lot of sense.  Read More

The New Sealegs Amphibious Rescue Craft

November 15, 2006 Amphibious vehicle manufacturers Sealegs has unveiled a new amphibious rescue boat aimed at search and rescue roles with government agencies, fire departments and civil defence forces. The 6 metre Amphibious Rescue Craft (ARC) is constructed of marine grade aluminium for demanding field deployment applications. The Sealegs ARC has a base price of NZ$89,000 (US$58,850) and made its debut at the Big Boys Toys show in the company’s native New Zealand last week. With international demand for the company’s unique product now accounting for 80% of production, a new production facility is being readied to increase supply by a factor of four.  Read More

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