View Full Version : Flightship Takes Wing

I. M. Esperto
6th May 2002, 22:03

FLIGHTSHIP TAKES WING: Is it a flying ship or a floating plane?
Whatever it is, we have to wonder what kind of license you need to fly,
er, pilot it. A Cairns, Australia, company has unveiled an eight-
passenger craft that skims above the surface of the water, using ground
effect to keep it aloft. Flightship, as it is called, is claimed to
travel five times faster than a boat and cost less than half what an
airplane would to operate.


22nd May 2002, 14:09
Here in the US, the FAA want nothing to do with them "Ground Effect Vehicles".

It has become a US Coast Guard issue and the licence required to drive the things are the same one as for operating a boat for hire:
The lowest commercial boat ticket is called a "Six-Pack" Licence as ya can carry six pax.
To obtain that ticket, 360 days of sea-time is required. (Each day must be at least 4 hours on the water.)
Then a course and a written test for the Coast Guard. (Not easy)

A company here in the US is developing a similar, but smaller Ground Effect Vehicle, but were set back last year when they crashed the prototype.

The pilot/skipper barely survived, but is okay now.

I. M. Esperto
22nd May 2002, 14:43
I've got an expired Third Mate's Licence.

22nd May 2002, 16:15
Hmm, probably no cigar on the expired 3rd mate ticket.

Ya will need to take the whole course and they credit all yer previous sea-time, but the like to see some recency. (Forgot how many days in the last 3 year)

The bad news is that the whole thing is more demanding now.
I got my six-pack in 1985 in St. Croix, then 5 years later I foolishly let it expire.

2 years ago I did all the classes over again and got a master's ticket. Nowadays ya have to document yer sea-time in detail.
Before ya just told 'em how many days ya got and they bought it.
Now everything have to be notarized and verified and documented, took me several months to complete the package.

Got a job offer on them "Ground Effect Vehicles" as I have both the Goast Guard ticket and sea-plane time. They are starting up in the West-Indies this summer.
Sounds like a fun job, but wife would cut of my balls if I quit the job with the major airline to live on a small island and drive flying boats for 1/3 of the pay.:D

compressor stall
24th May 2002, 13:39
It sure is an amazing sight watching it skim across the water as we depart from Cairns. Approach does not mind us requesting not above 1000' intitially so we can look at it close up.

There is some news footage floating around of it going base over apex in a little indiscretion about 6 months ago. Crew were not seriously injured, thankfully.

Yes, the concept will work very well in island places like the Windies. I imagine it will also sell well amongst the Carribean drug cartels. Very difficult for any law enforcement agencies to keep up with it in boats, or access where it can land with fixed wing.

As for licencing, I belive that our CASA has wiped their hands of the idea and a special WIGE marine licence is required to "fly" it.

I. M. Esperto
24th May 2002, 14:16
I seen to recall the USSR built a monster of a machine for use in the Baltic. Similar in principle, surface effect, but huge.


24th May 2002, 21:22
The Russians have been developing these for quite a while, on the Caspian Sea. See


for some more info.

I've seen photos of a few, which were HUGE.

24th May 2002, 21:53
Some info and pictures on the Russian ground effect vehicles:



and some video:


As I recall, there was a Pprune thread last year about these.

I. M. Esperto
24th May 2002, 21:56
Lunk - Thanks for the link.
Bay Area - Many thanks as well.

compressor stall
25th May 2002, 14:46
As I have mentioned in another thread somewhere else on this website, there is a Discovery Channel documentary about the Ekranoplan - the HUGE Russian miltary transporter developed in the early 60's. And I mean HUGE.:eek: :eek:

25th May 2002, 18:28
hmmm....you wouldn't like to be on the beach when a mob of those assault ones come ashore! The Russians had some very interesting ideas, and a interesting attitude to SIZE.