Company CTO and co-founder Mike Klinker said, “People have been attempting to make wing-in-ground effect vehicles viable for 60 years, and in 15 months we have gone from a drawing on a napkin to the first successful flight.”
How it works – flying on the REGENT seaglider.
When the craft first leaves the dock, it operates similarly to a traditional boat. After it departs the harbor and its speed is increased, it rises on its hydrofoil, skimming on the water. When it reaches open water, it lifts off to within a wingspan of the water’s surface, retracting the hydrofoil and accelerating to its cruising speed. The craft is said to combine advanced digital flight software with simple boat controls.
REGENT said that “the seagliders will slash the cost and time of regional trips, predicting Los Angeles to San Francisco or Boston to New York in 2 hours 15 minutes for $100 or Miami to the Bahamas in 1 hour 20 minutes for $63.”
These all-electric, “wing-in-ground-effect” boats/planes will travel at about 200 mph not far from the ocean’s surface. They have operating costs comparable to a boat and are built to specifications similar to both planes and boats. They are set to initially travel up to 180 miles, which may expand to 500 miles as battery technology improves.
Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele Airlines partner with these seagliders.
REGENT has had interest from not only Hawaiian Airlines, but also other airlines, ferry companies, and ocean logistics.
Back in May, Hawaii bellwether Hawaiian Airlines announced it would invest in this next generation 100-person capacity all-electric seaglider known as the Regent Monarch. The plane is expected to be delivered starting in 2028.
The fascinating hybrid of a plane and a boat is intended for harbor-to-harbor Hawaii service and may be the closest thing to a ferry system in Hawaii’s future.
Hawaiian became the company’s first U.S. development partner earlier this year. Mokulele’s parent company, Southern Airways Express, became a REGENT seaglider customer back in 2021. They agreed to buy 15 12-passenger Viceroy’s, and 5 of the latest 100-seat Monarchs. In a heavily discounted deal, they paid perhaps $250m on an order said to have a value of $600m.
When they announced their REGENT partnership, Hawaiian Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Avi Mannis said, “Innovative interisland transportation has been core to our business since 1929 when we replaced steamships with airplanes. We are excited to be an early investor in REGENT and to be involved in developing their largest seaglider – a vehicle with great potential for Hawaii.”We look forward to working with REGENT to explore the technology and infrastructure needed to fulfill our vision for convenient, comfortable and environmentally sustainable interisland transportation.”
BOH: We remain concerned about the safety of these for Hawaii’s wildlife including humpback whales. In the video, the craft appears to fly somewhat higher above the water than we were expecting.