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AirFish-8 (ex. Flightship FS8) is a 17m wing-in-ground craft constructed by the Airfoil Development (AFD) in the Germany as a prototype craft for commercial production. It is designed with a capacity of six passengers and two crews or, alternatively, 750 kg payload and two crews. The design is based on earlier AirFish design principles and features a classic Lippisch's reverse delta wing configuration. Classification of the craft was first handled by Germanischer Lloyd in the Germany and later by the Lloyd's Register in Australia. The AirFish-8 provides efficient low cost transportation at intermediate speeds between that of the typical ocean going vessel and the conventional aircraft.
The major capital cost advantage of ground effect vessels over aircraft is their classification as marine craft. This classification applies to all construction, registration, operator licensing and maintenance requirements and allows a lower construction cost as opposed to an aircraft or helicopters production cost.
Under the IMO legislation, the AF8 is classified as a Type A WIG craft, in the category of marine vessel. In order for the technology to become widespread and accepted internationally, it is imperative that AF8 is certified by an international certification authority. Such certification is a powerful endorsement to the technology's viability and safety. Our AF8-001 was previously certified by Germanischer Lloyd in Germany. This, according to many, is indeed a landmark in the development history of WIGs, since no other WIGs has ever achieved that status only the Russian small Ekranoplan Amphistar Xplorer USA now known as Aquaglide-5 in 1998 at Bahamas region (USA).
If the engine fails - the runway is always few meters below. The AF8 will simply glide forward for a descent of a mere 2 meters. Conventional aircrafts do not have this luxury, and thus the need to build in extra redundancy, at an increased cost. If need be, AF8 can land on water during an emergency in less than 300m, much shorter if a water brake can be installed and applied. Further more, AF8 can be equipped with a jump capability which allows it to jump over low obstacles in emergency.
Because of the comfort of constant steadily flow of air cushion under the wings when the AF8 is cruising in ground effect, there is hardly any rolling and pitching movement since the AF8 is not touching the waves, there is no sea sickness as associated with typical marine travel. There is no pressure differential as experienced in aircrafts when the aircraft is climbing or descending.
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