PROVIDENCE – Regent Craft Inc.’s high-tech Seaglider took flight for the first time over Narragansett Bay, the company announced in September, paving the way for passenger trials.
The Burlington, Mass.-founded company, which also has an office at Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown, says that the Viceroy model’s flight makes it “the first-ever vehicle to successfully utilize three modes of maritime operation – floating, foiling and flying.”
Regent, which the R.I. Commerce Corp. granted a $13 million tax credit approval to move to the Ocean State, plans to consolidate all operations at Quonset by the first quarter of 2023, and the company is also working with the Herreshoff Marine Museum to test the technology.
Regent co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Mike Klinker touted the technology as a new, energy efficient means of transportation that would promote tourism and commuting in coastal communities. In June, Regent announced a partnership with Pacific Current to develop a Seaglider network in Hawaii.
“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,” Klinker said in a statement.
The Seaglider flies within one wingspan of the water’s surface, which Regent says allows the vehicle to “take advantage of numerous aerodynamic and operational efficiencies, enabling increased payload capability and greater range than other electric aircraft concepts.”
Regent reports more than $7 billion in advance orders internationally.
The August flight over Narragansett Bay completes the technology’s feasibility stage, the company notes, and Regent expects to begin trials with human passengers in 2024, with commercialization planned for 2025.
To qualify for the R.I. Commerce tax credits, the company had to commit to creating 300 new jobs in Rhode Island over a 10-year period.
Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.