Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Wing-in-Ground-Effect luxury airliner/cruise ship
  [vote for,

Larger, far faster than a ship yet more efficient than anything else that'll carry its payload. Passengers can move about within an enclosed portion, or out on a safely designed deck for the air and a view. In case of a catastrophic powerplant failure, the pilot can gently descend to the water's surface, where propulsion can be taken over by auxiliary prop-jets (slow, but need to be big enough to maintain steerage-way)

In flight, such vehicles are capable of short hops to clear obstacles, so a sharp pilot can avoid accidents with other vessels, and other hazards such as floating cargo containers.

Entering and exiting harbor will remain the same stately, propjet-powered maneuver from the past, but when out in the open water, open the throttles and...

I suppose the only thing I'm adding to an old idea is opening up a deck and making the craft more cruiseliner-like.

spacer, Feb 10 2015


       How slow can a WIG fly anyway? I would have assumed the minimum practical speed would be high enough that it wouldn't be enjoyable to be on deck. Or is the deck only used when it is floating rather than flying? It would be rather disconcerting to be on deck (or standing up anywhere for that matter) when the captain needs to hop over an obstacle.
scad mientist, Feb 10 2015

       Isn't this just an Ekranoplan, which is Baked and WKTE ?
8th of 7, Feb 10 2015

       As mentioned at the end, the Ekranoplan isn't a luxury cruise version.   

       The deck would serve two purposes, passenger-wise: During "flight" mode, those who'd like the rush, can rent goggles and strap themselves in. They won't be going much faster than an old biplane, so it's physically just fine. Also, if they aren't strapped in, the Captain should be able to let them know (depending on visibility ahead) when a Hop will be needed. That'll let the passengers, inside and out, know they need to sit down and strap in. Attendants would be available to help. While afloat, it will serve as a slightly narrower version of current cruise ship decks.
spacer, Feb 11 2015

       It should be entirely possible to have an "open" deck that is entirely within an aerodynamic eddy behind a wind screen, such that the passengers never experience the full force of the wind. (This would not be the full length and width of the craft, it would be pockets here and there).
MechE, Feb 11 2015

       Somewhat pre-heated, in William Gibson's "Zero History" - the book's ending scene takes place in a very rich man's Ekranoplan done over to effectively be a ground effect Rolls Royce.
normzone, Feb 11 2015

       I've enjoyed the Gibson work I've read so far. I'll have to look that one up. Thanks!
spacer, Mar 17 2015


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