Following successful test flights with a quarter scale model, Regent’s CEO Billy Thalheimer said the start-up has sufficient funds to continue developing the plane-boat hybrid prototype to full scale and conduct passenger test runs in 2024 and commercialise it in 2025.
The seaglider is an all-electric vehicle that operates in three modes: from the dock, the vehicle first drives on its hull like a traditional boat. As it leaves the harbour area and speeds up, it rises on its hydrofoil, floating above water levels. The hydrofoil offers significant wave tolerance and a smooth ride as the seaglider leaves a crowded harbour. Upon reaching open water, the seaglider takes flight, retracting the foil and accelerating up to cruise speed, all while staying within a wingspan of the water’s surface.
This is the next great moment in the history of human transportation. There has not been a new mode of transportation since the helicopter.Billy Thalheimer, Regent CEO
“From the dock, the vehicle will float on its hull. Upon reaching 32 km/h, it will rise on its retractable hydrofoil. When it reaches the open sea, it smoothly transitions to its wing, retracts the aileron and accelerates until reaching a comfortable cruising speed of 290 km/h”, Thalheimer explained.
The first successful test flight took place in September 2022 in the Narragansett Bay of Rhode Island. is now focused on developing its full-scale, making the seaglider, named Viceroy, the first-ever vehicle to successfully utilize three modes of maritime operation – floating, foiling and flying. Now, the company is developing the full scale 65 feet (19.8 m) wingspan prototype with human-carrying sea trials expected to begin in 2024.
Thalheimer envisions Viceroy as an accessible, zero-emissions transportation solution for coastal communities. “Seagliders will bring welcome relief for travelers seeking an alternative to traditional air travel servicing coastal communities such as NewYork City, the Hawaiian Islands, Barcelona, Tokyo, and many more worldwide. 40% of the world’s population lives in coastal communities. These successful flights give us full confidence in our ability to apply this technology at full scale and bring seagliders to global commercial service by 2025”, he said.
In October 2023, Regent signed an agreement with Surf Air Mobility to establish a base for seaglider operations in Miami that will provide passenger transport service for South Florida, including routes from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and the Caribbean Islands, with the seagliders expected to be in service as soon as 2027.