What is ground effect?

Ground effect is an aerodynamic principle that aircraft experience when flying close to the earth’s surface—either over ground or water. The phenomenon takes hold when operating within a distance of one wingspan from the surface. The surface alters the flow field around the wing, resulting in reduced drag and increased lift. Reduced drag leads to better energy efficiency and increased lift lets the craft carry heavier payloads.

When a wing is flown close to the ground, drag-inducing wingtip vortices are interrupted by the ground and unable to form effectively because of the obstruction. The result is lower induced drag, which increases the speed and lift of the aircraft.

Flying close to the surface creates a cushion of air under the wing that is generated by downwash from the wing, thus increasing lift.

Why are we exploiting ground effect?

During the Cold War, the USSR made significant strides in ground effect technology. They unveiled awe-inspiring creations like the Caspian Sea Monster, a gigantic WIG craft capable of skimming above the water surface at extraordinary speeds.

While the Soviet Union achieved significant advancements in the field, the technology required complex engineering and faced numerous technical hurdles. Finally, with the collapse of the USSR, WIG tech was placed on the back burner until the arrival of Flying Ships.

Wing-in-ground effect (WIG) vessels are 50%+ more energy efficient than similar-sized aircraft and 10x faster than conventional boats. Flying Ships combine cutting-edge developments in autonomy with commercial-off-the-shelf materials, systems, and technology to provide the first-ever unmanned WIG delivery vessels.

Future variants will be larger, incorporating hybrid, green propulsion technologies to increase range and capacity to 1000nm and 2700kg. Initially semi-autonomous, Flying Ships will transition to fully autonomous operations.

How do we enable logistics?

The US Cargo System, who has created interior cargo designs for FedEx, UPS, and Amazon, worked with us to develop cargo systems for each Flying Ship model. These systems ensure safety and security of the cargo while enabling easier loading and unloading. The cargo door can be placed on different areas of the cargo system allowing for custom delivery solutions - think deliveries on the beach coming out of the nosecone vs. deliveries at an oil rig coming out of the top.