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Catamaran Towboat Pulled transatlantic Seaplane

Use less energy pay less taxes
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Special high speed towboat pulls tethered aircraft (carrying enough fuel to take off and land. I'm presuming that a thin streamlined ship can pull much more weight with much less energy than pushing the air with turbine motors.

You pay less airport taxes on fuel, and perhaps even get there faster.

pashute, Aug 16 2011


       You mean a 'glider', rather than an aeroplane. Still more efficient would be a glider pulled across the Atlantic by a wire being reeled in onto a fixed spool somewhere near New York.
hippo, Aug 16 2011

       Perhaps if you already had a "high speed towboat" running around anyways.
FlyingToaster, Aug 16 2011

       Airplane not glider. The motor is needed for takeoff and landing and short flight over land to and from airport.   

       If its a seaplane It could be a glider, but the downside is people get seasick. (Perhaps worth it for cargo)   

       Use ground effect. But rather than having the motor in the air, have the motor in the water. (Of course run by RC.   

       An RC ground vehicle could be used for towing during landing and take off, so that no on board motor is needed at all, and then hippo is correct, it would be a glider.   

       Anybody know's how to make a nice 3d animation or realistic vid of this and put on youtube? It could be done by replacing a small glider image with a large passenger (or better yet - cargo) plane.
pashute, Aug 16 2011

       Is this functionally different from a hydrofoil in normal operation?
MechE, Aug 16 2011

       A hydrofoil has the weight of the cargo supported by foils in the water. This idea has the weight of the cargo supported by foils in the air.   

       But speeking of hydrofoils, your tow boat will probably need some to keep itself in the water. I assume this aircraft will probably be designed to fly fairly slowly, lets say between 50-100 knots, but that's really fast for a boat. I think it will want to jump out of the water as it goes over the waves. You could use hydrofoils too keep it in the water, and since you have them, you might as well use them to reduce drag and run as a hydrofoil full time.
scad mientist, Aug 16 2011

       Can a lightweight hydrofoil not reach the high speeds of aircraft?! If not, this idea is void.   

       The aircraft will periodically lower itself so that the towboat is in the water when giving power.
pashute, Aug 19 2011

       I think your assumptions as to the power demand are pretty backwards. Take a look at the size of an engine on any speedboat going 50 knots, and now take a look at the size of one on a Piper Supercub. This idea is mismatched in a number of ways.   

       The answer you're looking for is the Russian ground-effect plane that flew over the Caspian. Look up the 'Caspian Sea Monster' sometime.
RayfordSteele, Aug 19 2011

       I read it a long time ago, and re-read it before posting. Perhaps some of the energy in speedboats goes on raising the speedboat above water. In this case perhaps the wings help and ground effect can assist.   

       I do not know. so perhaps I'm totally wrong. How is it that pushing air is more effective than pushing water? Or is it LESS effective but much slower because of the density?
pashute, Aug 22 2011

       [RS], it's called an 'ekranoplan'. Wiki will redirect you to the GEV page if you search for it.
Alterother, Aug 22 2011

       Pushing water is more effective at gaining speed, however the friction and viscosity is much much larger as well.   

       Most of the energy in any powerboat is simply taken up by pushing the water out of the way. Boats are simply gashogs.   

       A good experiment would be to take a ski-plane, adapt a water-prop to it, and compare the speed vs. the fuel used. I'd be interested in the result of that. I suspect it might do better than the air prop while the plane was in the water. But I would be hesitant to pick a winner between the water-prop-equipped seaplane taxiing in the water and a conventional air-prop plane while flying.
RayfordSteele, Aug 22 2011

       A boat that can travel at 40+ knots is uncommon to say the least.   

       An aircraft that can fly safely at less then 40 knots is uncommon to say the least.   

       Large civil aircraft fly "above" the weather; FL350 is typical. That's (very roughly) 1.4 * 7 = 10nm slant range.   

       Any estimates of what 10 nautical miles of high tensile cable weighs in at ? Eh ? Eh ?   

       Oh, and at that altitude, you need to be traveling at Mach 0.8 or so, or your wings have a tendency to stop producing lift.   

       So your towed airfoil is, at best, going to struggle to reach 5000' AMSL, at 40 knots. 3500 nautical miles across the Atlantic; five or six days of being bounced around in the clag in a cabin not much bigger than the average backwoods privy (and no actual privy, per se; if you're lucky, a draughty hole in the fuselage).   

       Suggested category change - Public:Punishment.
8th of 7, Aug 22 2011

       ok. 8th you convinced me. <drooping>
pashute, Aug 23 2011


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