What Are Sea Skimmers?

Technology

Sea Eagle’s sea skimmers utilises the wing in ground (WIG) effect which has effectively been known to aviators for as long as man made aircraft have existed. The WIG effect is a phenomenon that creates an increase in lift experienced by an aircraft as it approaches the ground for landing, when vortices of air become trapped between the wings of the aircraft and the ground creating a cushion effect.

This principle makes the attractiveness of sea skimming WIG craft appealing because of the lower operating costs are much lower, while the speed of a sea skimmer is similar to an aircraft or a boat of similar cargo or passenger capacity.

WIG craft that are capable of out of ground effect operation have no specific operational height limitation and have the advantage of being able to operate in heavier weather conditions.

WIG craft also have the added advantage of operating near the earth’s surface providing low radar detectability.

Advantages over Water Born Craft

The major advantage which WIG craft have over conventional waterborne craft is the potential for significantly increased travelling speeds. WIG craft are capable of carrying high payloads while travelling at high speeds and are also not very affected by high sea states. In fact high while high sea states may restrict the payload or range capabilities, there is no significant reduction in cruise speed.

The primary benefits of the wing in ground effect come from the additional lift provided by this phenomenon. This lift allows the craft to remain airborne with less power required from the engine. This improves craft fuel efficiency and allows it to fly further and with a greater payload. This increased fuel and energy efficiency also makes a craft more environmentally friendly and less noisy. The close proximity of the craft with the ground also reduces lift induced drag. These benefits provide enormous potential for WIG craft to be used for high speed over-water  passenger and cargo transport.

WIG craft could potentially do the job of a ship, only much faster since they don’t experience water drag to the extent that ships do.

With regard to safety, should a WIG craft experience an engine failure  the craft will not have far to fall as it’s runway is always below them.