Seaglider Developer Regent Unveils Full-Scale Mockup

The wing-in-ground effect vehicle is designed to compete with ferries and airlines for coastal travel.

Regent said its full-scale seaglider mockup will help customers refine their plans for operating the vehicle. [Courtesy: Regent]

Regent, the company developing electric-powered wing-in-ground effect vehicles called seagliders, today unveiled a full-size mockup of its passenger-carrying craft. The company said the actual seaglider prototype is to begin flight testing next year.

The North Kingstown, Rhode Island company also revealed plans to expand its headquarters, adding as much as 600,000 square feet of manufacturing and testing space. Regent said it has received orders totaling $8 billion, or more than 400 seagliders, and plans to begin fulfilling them soon. The company said it expects its first commercial seaglider model, the Viceroy, to enter service “by mid-decade.”

“This mock-up along with the announcement of our plans to build new state-of-the-art facilities showcases our growth trajectory and our commitment to begin production as soon as possible,” said Regent co-founder and CEO Billy Thalheimer. “Our studies, based on publicly validated data, show that our seagliders serve an $11 billion market that we project to swell to as much as $25 billion as battery technology advances.”

Seagliders are maritime vehicles that resemble seaplanes but are designed to combine the speed of an airplane with the low operating cost of a boat. The regent models will be all-electric, zero-emission vessels that will operate only over water, flying in ground effect and using existing dock infrastructure, the company said. The craft are expected to travel at up to 180 miles per hour, or about 156 knots.

Last year Regent completed test flights with a one-fourth scale prototype and said the mockup “represents a key next step in the build journey for Regent that will enable customers to begin interfacing with the full-scale vehicle design and think about the passenger experience.”

Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern Airways, which Regent said will receive the first seaglider deliveries, said the vehicles are part of a broad plan to cut the company’s emissions. “The seaglider is truly transformative, and Southern Airways is incredibly proud to be the launch customer through our Mokulele brand."

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter