We are creating a concept watercraft to develop a completely new sport merging jet ski, hydrofoil and ekranoplane technologies
We are creating a concept watercraft to develop a completely new sport merging jet ski, hydrofoil and ekranoplane technologies Read more
What is a WATAIRCRAFT?
New: the reputable Bateaux magazine published an exclusive, online article (in french).
The WATAIRCRAFT is a revolutionary concept blending jet ski, ekranoplane and hydrofoil technologies.
Everybody knows what a jet ski is, but what is an... ekranoplane? Essentially it is a wing-in-ground-effect (WIG) which needs some forward velocity to produce lift dynamically with as principal benefit of operating in ground effect with a huge reduction of drag.
A hydrofoil is a lifting surface, or foil, that operates in water. It is similar in appearance and purpose to an aerofoil used by aeroplane.
Why the new technology
Our initial goal focuses on proofing the concept of this brand new water sport activity. it will open up a revolutionary sensation with endless flying about 2 feet (60cm) over the water surface, banking wings in curves and even jumping at higher elevation over short distances. The testing phase will in particular include the definition of a safe maneuvering enveloppe, based on the same proven principles of aircraft testing.
The jet ski control systems (power and steering) will be used with no additional flying controls. The Pilot weight only will bring enough maneuverability in flight and enhance the pureness of the flying sensation, a feeling comparable to hang gliding - only in a radically new environment.
A jet ski with only a hydrofoil would be unstable given the particularities of such crafts, where weight shifting provides most of the control. The addition of wings in ground effect will provide enhanced stability and a huge gain in pure flying fun!
A bit more about WIG technology: Placing the same wing near a surface such as the water or the ground has the effect of greatly increasing the aspect ratio, but without having the complications associated with a long and slender wing, so that the short stubs on a WIG can produce just as much lift as the much larger wing on a transport aircraft.
...and about hydrofoil technology: As a hydrofoil craft gains speed, the hydrofoils lift the boat's hull out of the water, decreasing drag and allowing greater speeds. This lift is only meant for the initial phase while lifting the jet ski body out of the water. Once this happens, the lift due to the foil becomes marginal and the wings take over the load, allowing the craft to fly over the water surface. The main function of the foil in this configuration is to scoop water and eject it under pressure.
What We Are Building
Our Engineering & Design teams based respectively in Neuchâtel and Vevey, Switzerland, will be building in 2017 a fully functional WATAIRCRAFT. The revolutionary water - aircraft concept craft will be designed and built entirely in Switzerland using advanced engineering techniques, supplemented with computer design and analysis.
Our project aims to raise enough money through Kickstarter and private companies to build a prototype WATAIRCRAFT. Following the research and testing phases, a commercial conversion kit will be produced with detailed instructions on how to transform a jet ski in a WATAIRCRAFT,
We wish to raise an initial CHF 70'000 to help fund the building of a prototype in order to prove the concept by end of 2017.
Assisting with fundraising is an opportunity to turn this project into reality and reaping the rewards of its success!
Risks and challenges
As with any other engineering project, failure is always a possibility. However, this can be mitigated through hard work and a meticulous attention to detail. We have researched the various subsystems of our aircraft thoroughly and have sought out several professionals in the avionic and hydrodynamic fields to aid in the design and production of our project. Among some of the experts helping us, we have one aircraft engineer and a composite specialist. We also have the aid of a community of experimental aircraft builders.
However, just because the experts are helping us doesn't mean that problems won't surface. Our team will run into obstacles on the project, and here are a few that we already see:
The biggest challenge with the aerodynamic design of the aircraft is aerodynamic in ground effect. Once a model is created, it undergoes Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) Analysis to see where any turbulent flow is happening. In these particular areas, designs can be optimized to reduce these perturbations, which cause excess drag and less lift. To mitigate the risk of aerodynamic failure, we will be conducting reduced size models to confirm our numerical solutions with experimental results. This will help us fine-tune our aerodynamic design to become as efficient as possible.
Another challenge with the structural design is the manufacturing aspect of all the components. The wings and hydrofoil are relatively complex geometries. These designs will have to be constructed from fibreglass layups. Getting these geometries correct will involve molds that have very small tolerances and the composite lay ups need to be done such that the surface roughness is as minimal as possible and that a surface coating may be applied to eradicate any surface discrepancies. To achieve these tolerances, we seek the assistance of industry experts to provide a process and step-by-step guidance to achieve these tolerances and to achieve a well-done composite lay-up.
Any additional obstacles will be detailed in the Updates section of our official webpageLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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