Yes, you read correctly, a hydrogen-powered, flying yacht – and you thought hovercrafts were cool. Australian designer Jaron Dickson has come up with, what he has dubbed the EkranoYacht: an eco-friendly design based upon the well-known Soviet vehicle, the Ekranoplan.
Perhaps the most famous Ekranoplan is the “Caspian Sea Monster,” which weighed 550 tons while flying up to 66 feet above the water at speeds up-to 460 mph (740 km/h). It used the ground effect, also known as the wing-in-ground-effect, where a cushion of high-pressure air is created by the aerodynamic contact between the wings and the water’s surface. Smaller versions of this craft was used to transport troops and vehicles in the Black and Caspian seas until the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Ekranoplan’s have become a niche market more than anything. While the Ekranoplan was a marvel during its time, Dickson has new plans in store for the EkranoYacht.
Aimed for environmental protection and for faster, more efficient sea travel, Dickson plans on fueling the yacht/plane, which should fly 4m above the water’s surface, using a hydrogen power wing-in-ground-effect. Being hydrogen fueled, the vehicle will release water vapor and small amounts of hydrogen rather than polluting the environment with carbon emissions. This 118 foot vehicle is estimated to be able travel at a top speed of 250 mph and can fit up to 6 guests in its comfortably designed, permanent living quarters. That’s a whole lot faster than even the fastest speed boats, as there is less drag flying above the water as opposed to plowing through the water. Of course, this is still a concept vehicle, far from actual production, so saying it can go 250 mph, and actually doing it, are two very different things.
Dickson finds that displaying one’s wealth and success is freedom and that the greatest freedom is being able to bring your home with you wherever you go. Hence one of the reasons’s behind his design for the EkranoYacht– it “has the livability of a yacht and the convenience of an aeroplane.” Yet, not everyone is fortunate enough to own such a luxury. Down the line, are we going to see similar ideas but for smaller water crafts and not just yachts? How will the public perceive such a lavish, flying yacht and how much will it cost – we can only guess.