17 December 2016     3 comments

When Cats Fly

Continuing in the ‘Old School’ vein, here is the 1924 Savoia-Marchetti S.55 - a twin-hulled flying boat that set 14 world records for speed, payload, altitude and range. “The most incredible serial-built flying boat of the Interbellum.”

Designed by Alessandro Marchetti, the S.55 achieved great fame through spectacular long-distance flights: Lieut-Col the Marchese de Pinedo flew the Santa Mariafrom Sardinia to Buenos Aires and then…

 history / catamarans / airships 

Savoia s-55

21 November 2015     3 comments

Burt Rutan’s SkiGull Flying Boat

Burt Rutan is probably the most famous aircraft designer in the world, so it’s always interesting to see what he’s up to. These days, perhaps inspired by his new retirement digs in Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he’s building a trimaran in his garage. A flying trimaran named the SkiGull. The amphibious airplane is a “dream plane for Rutan and his wife, Tonya, a newly-minted seaplane pilot. Together, they plan to tour the world and land…

 trimarans / designers / airships 

Rutan at Oshkosh

18 June 2015     12 comments

The Flying Boat

Advanced Aerodynamic Vessels of Nantes, France, aims to improve the speeds of passenger vessels by harnessing the flow of apparent wind. The catamaran employs planing stepped hulls similar to a seaplane, but the resemblance to a flying machine doesn’t stop there. The central bridgedeck is carefully shaped into a wing that creates aerodynamic lift and reduces both displacement and drag:

The operational speed of today’s small workboats…

 new designs / catamarans / airships 

AAV sea trials

15 November 2011     0 comments

Zeppy 3 - Across the Med by Wind Powered Airship

Preparations are underway for a 150 mile journey from southern France to Corsica in a sail balloon. High flyer Stéphane Rousson is planning to pilot Zeppy 3 across a stretch of Mediterranean waters using only the power of the wind and a curved carbon foil based on the chien de mer by Didier Costes.

The 65.6 feet long and 16.4 feet wide Zeppy 3 recently on display at Le Bourget in Paris is filled with 200 cubic meters of helium. An…

 hydrofoils / airships 

Zeppy 3

13 November 2010     0 comments

When frogs fly

Americans may have made the first sustained powered flight, but the French will be the first to fly a sailboat over a few meters above the waves. It’s bordering on a national obsession, with l’Hydroptère being the world’s fastest and highest flying sailboat to date, but hydrofoils are just baby steps. The French dream big.

Designed for Renault, the “Zep’lin” by industrial designer Damien Grossemy is a hypothetical vehicle to explore…


Renault zepYlin by damien grossemy

21 September 2008     0 comments

First Flight

A working hapa model has finally been accomplished by Frenchman Luc Armant. It is the realization of the theoretically perfect sailboat: an airfoil and hydrofoil, tied together by a single line in tension. The massless sailboat has long been the dream of sailing pioneers from Bernard Smith’s aerohydrofoil to D. Costes’ chien de mer (seadog) to the hapas of J. Hagedoorn. The achievement cannot really be overstated, IMHO. Well done, Mr.…

 proas / airships 

Massless clipper