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Flying Boat Revival

Inland Waterway Landing Strips For Sea Going Aircraft.
  [vote for,

Fashioning suitably sized canals for landing strips would be a relatively simple exercise, less costly to maintain than the sealed runways used today. This would usher in a new era of jumbo sized flying boats, thus rendering landing on rough seas obsolete. An obvious benefit would be in the event of an airliner being forced to ditch in a stretch of shark infested ocean. The plane would remain safely afloat until rescue. A possible spin off could be ducks encouraged to settle on the water and in the event of a duck strike the duck would emerge from the jet engine, plucked, cooked and portioned with no added MSG, giving rise to a whole new meaning of Chinese waterside Restaurants. Meccas for Plane Spotters to gather, collect and share plane numbers.......and Duck Spotters to do.... Well Whatever Duck Spotters do. Feed the ducks or something.
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 04 2012

Nice bird... http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Beriev_Be-200
[normzone, Sep 05 2012]

Carter Copter (excuse the naff name) http://www.cartercopters.com/mu-1.html
Mu values (ratio of forward airspeed to backward travelling rotor tip speed) exceeding 1 have been reached. Thus low drag at higher speeds than conventionally possible. [TomP, Sep 10 2012]

Fairey Rotodyne http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotodyne
Ingenious [8th of 7, Sep 10 2012]


       There are a large number of technical reasons why there are no longer any large commercial seaplanes.   

       These include, but are not limited to, corrosion problems, engine positioning problems, pollution issues, weather limitations, ddifficulty of providing VFR landing aids, and not least the fact that large bodies of open water do tend to attract birds.   

       Duck + gas turbine = very bad.   

       Bear in mind that because of the huge drag of the water, much more thrust is required than on a standard strip. The drag can be compensated for by designing a high lift wing so the takeoff speed is low. But a high lift wing performs poorly at high speed and altitude, precluding its use in long range commercial aviation.   

       Seaplanes, like tailless helecopters and VSTOL jets, neatly occupy their own little niche markets, and it's most likely to stay that way.
8th of 7, Sep 04 2012

       Exactly what 8th said. [+]
ytk, Sep 04 2012

       flying boat hulls are incredibly unaerodynamic, so it'd need to be low speed = piston + propeller.   

       And then you're back in the '30s and the damned thing is too loud for modern air passengers to spend a couple days straight on.   

       It wouldn't work. [+]
FlyingToaster, Sep 04 2012

       This wouldn't work. Luckily, for those who love flying boats there are still some around. You can even get a turbine conversion for your Grumman Mallard. I've always thought that the best retirement plan ever is flying a seaplane around to all the lakes in Alaska.
DIYMatt, Sep 04 2012

       Those would be the ones where the mosquitoes are the size of hummingbirds, right? Thankyou, but no …
8th of 7, Sep 04 2012

       That wouldn't be futuristic even. VTOL will be ubiquitous in the near future, and automated floating pads would be the future innovation.
rotary, Sep 04 2012

       Damned duck unions. Always striking whenever the competition from geese is the fiercest.
RayfordSteele, Sep 04 2012

       //Those would be the ones where the mosquitoes are the size of hummingbirds, right? Thankyou, but no//   

       I went and found no mosquitos. You would let the mere threat of mosquitos keep you from going someplace?
DIYMatt, Sep 04 2012

       To have any credence at all, you'd need clear water for this revival...   

       No, but West Nile virus and malaria might cause me to redirect my travel plans towards more delightsome vacationlands.
RayfordSteele, Sep 04 2012

       Sorry Bakers. Only just realized I am on the wrong site not realizing it is for half baked ideas. I was looking for half witted ideas.
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 04 2012

       "Between the two of them they were quite witty".   

       Modernized Boeing Clippers over the Pacific and Zeppelins over the Atlantic; can't beat it. It could make a profit too, but the competition would be luxury cruise ships, not airlines.   

       On the other hand, feel free to take my "Modern Low Speed Airliner" design and add a boat hull. It wouldn't look like a Clipper mind you.   

       Or just buy a Beriev Be-200 right off the assembly line.
FlyingToaster, Sep 05 2012

       Can't one get around the unaerodynamicness of the hull by fitting a retractable notch section? I can't find the proper name for that step that is in the hull or float, but I'm sure you know the one I mean (is it the Felixstowe notch? I'm sure I read about it with a different name to that). I'm thinking of hinging the rear of the hull at the back to fill the step when in flight by shifting the back section of it downwards until the hull is smooth.
TomP, Sep 05 2012

       In fact the whole of the lower part of the hull coul dbe inflatable, so that in water it is a nice V section but in the air it is smoothly rounded.
pocmloc, Sep 05 2012

       [TomP] that might work, on a small lake with zero waves(?)
FlyingToaster, Sep 05 2012

       Someone's going to say ekranoplane, so it might as well be me.   

       Anyway, I find that explosives, placed in sufficient quantity, under a boat, can produce exactly the same effect of flying.   

       Admittedly not very far, or in one piece, but it's the principle that matters.
not_morrison_rm, Sep 06 2012

       Sooner or later someone's going to say ekranoplan, using the correct spelling, so it might as well be me.
hippo, Sep 06 2012

       //To have any credence at all, you'd need clear water for this revival.// Definitely. Put me down for a couple of tickets please.
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 06 2012

       Sooner or later someone's going to Ekranoplan using the correct capitalisation, so it might as well be me.   

       Anyway, I'm caught up (metaphorically speaking) in a way to put a little turbine in motor vehicle shock-absorbers to try and get some denki (electricity) out of all those bumps, potholes, flattened badgers or whatever..
not_morrison_rm, Sep 06 2012

       Oh yea of little faith. Why hast it not occurred to thee a flying boat's aerodynamics could be equalized by making the same boat shape to the sides and top of the plane's fuselage, thus allowing it to cleave the air like a Blackbird (and be just about as short lived experimentally)? All waterborne emergency landings are then able to be successfully performed, even,"Any Which Way But Up."
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 06 2012

       //flattened Badgers or whatever.// Suggest also incorporating a built in Microwave to cook said Badgers en route, gaining the appreciation of all hitch hiking backpacking tight'rse bludgers, each with wads of money, to be spent wastefully only and on reaching their destination.
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 06 2012

       <points at first anno>   

       It's not just hull shape …   

       It's the wing. Flying boat need high lift at low speed = high drag. Look at a PBY-5A; big, thick wing. Look at a 747-400; thin, slender wing. You can mess around with flaps and slats and stuff but that means more drag and bigger engines, which are heavier... the 787's built of composites to save weight, weight is everything …   

       Ideally, passenger jets would use a catapult launch. That way they could use much smaller, lighter engines, because most of the airframe's momentum is donated by the ground system. And it's reuseable.   

       Obviously, there might be a certain amount of consumer resistance to a 4g horizontal acceleration …
8th of 7, Sep 06 2012

       //Flying boat needs high lift at low speed// In that case I shall retire to the drawing board and invent the hydrofoil. Methinks I am rapidly getting out of my depth in hot water here.
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 06 2012

       //they could use much smaller, lighter engines, because most of the airframe's momentum is donated by the ground system//   

       Except that the size of the engines isn't based on taking off. The engine size is based on the worst case scenario - an airliner on final approach with one engine on fire, gear and flaps down, has to be able to power back up and climb away fast enough to avoid that mountain. A catapult launch system would save a bit of fuel used during the takeoff roll but I suspect that the cost of that fuel is nothing compared to the cost of installing a giant catapult system at every airport. It's like buying a Prius instead of a Corolla so you can save money on gas.   

       As for the original idea the solution is obvious: a VTOL aircraft. Like a jet version of the Osprey, except much bigger and boat shaped.
DIYMatt, Sep 07 2012

       Nope, my money is still on explosives.
not_morrison_rm, Sep 07 2012

       What [n_m_r] said.
8th of 7, Sep 07 2012

       Sooner or later, someone is going to post Ekranoplan in the original Cyrillic.
But it isn't going to be me.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Sep 07 2012

       After which somebody post that the modern way of saying it is "wing in ground effect vehicle".
FlyingToaster, Sep 07 2012

       //Sooner or later, someone is going to post Ekranoplan in the original Cyrillic.   

       I already tried, didn't work, I guess HB doesn't do Cyrillic.
not_morrison_rm, Sep 08 2012

       What [8th of 7] said I said.
not_morrison_rm, Sep 09 2012

       After which somebody will note that the wing in "wing in ground effect" isn't actually "in" the "ground effect", rather the underside is causing the ground effect which isn't actually "in" at all, but more "on top of" as it were.
FlyingToaster, Sep 09 2012

       Neither is it the effect of having a wing in the ground.
pocmloc, Sep 09 2012

       Which also misses the point that the majority of "ground effect" air vehicles in fact operate over water …
8th of 7, Sep 09 2012

       So, you've never heard of groundwater?
not_morrison_rm, Sep 09 2012

       //So, you've never heard of groundwater?//
Good point - perhaps dowsing is just another application of the ground effect.

So, if this ground effect only is practicable over water, why not a network of broad shallow canals over which the Ekranoplaini can fly, with deeper basins at the "airports" to allow them to "land".
Lock systems are going to be problematical, and crossing points will have to be carefully timed.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Sep 10 2012

       If some of those suitably-sized canals were in northern latitudes where freeze-up comes around Thanksgiving (CDN not USAian), takeoff would be easier due to a much lower drag coefficient when the planes are fitted with skates to glide over the ice.   

       Ice landings, however, would require a drogue chute or whole lot of sand/salt. Or maybe Annette.   

       And as much as I have always wanted to drive a Zamboni, I doubt it would be much fun to resurface runways of that size.
Canuck, Sep 10 2012

       //if this ground effect only is practicable over water,   

       I don't think it particularly is...after all you get high waves on water, and given the empty weight of the ekranoplein (286 tonnes) ....leylandii hedge owners, you have just wasted your money..
not_morrison_rm, Sep 10 2012

       //Flying boat need high lift at low speed //   

       Floating autogyro? By using supplementary wings, mu values exceeding 1 have been achieved [link], so with retractable floats, we could have the ultimate answer to domestic 'short hop' type routes.
TomP, Sep 10 2012

       An aquatic version of the Fairey Rotodyne?   

8th of 7, Sep 10 2012

       Just the other day, I was thinking that the world would be a brighter place if the large flying boat were re-imagined for the modern era. Thus, despite all of the aforementioned very legitimate drawbacks, [+].
Alterother, Sep 11 2012

       Short-haul routes are the obvious market.   

       If the plane doesn't need to go particularly high, fast or far, then the wing efficiency issues become less relevant.   

       Turboprops rather than fanjets would be the obvious propulsion system, as they are slightly less vulnerable to bird strikes and have other benefits, like lift from the propwash.   

       Advantages? The landing facility can be nothing more than a purpose designed pontoon, and is mobile. Aircraft can land very close to urban centres. Wind direction becomes much less important if a wide area of clear water is available.   

       Problems? No flarepath or visual approach aids, although with modern tech, these could be synthesised. Birds, boats, and floating branches. Weather-limited by visibility and surface chop.
8th of 7, Sep 11 2012

       as well more "runway" is needed: the airport will take up more room.
FlyingToaster, Sep 11 2012


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