October 6, 2004
It's a plane, a bird, It's a WIG
According to AVWeb.com, interstate travelers in Alaska are going to be seeing a cool new method of travel. Pacific Seaflight has announced plans to offer passenger service between Southeastern Alaskan cities including Juneau, Skagway, and Haines on board a Wing in Ground effect vehicle (WIG). They are in the process of building their own such craft, expected to be similar to the FS8 (right) built by Singapore-based Flightship.
The WIG craft is designed to fly only within ground effect, cruising on a self made cushion of air above the water at a height equivalent to about 50% of its wingspan. The Pacific Sea Flight site has some great information about WIG technology.
It is expected that the craft will be able to bypass FAA requlations and instead only need to meet less stringent laws for marine vessels similar to the hovercraft.
Pilot Getaways Magazine quoted Pacific Seaflight President Linus Romey as saying, "The idea is to produce a vessel that will result in a ticket price some 30 percent less than a comparable airplace ticket."