Widgetworks Airfish - Modern Ekranoplan

By Willie Bodenstein


Imagine a boat that glides you effortlessly across the waves, no turbulence in the air, no discomfort from the motion of water. It cruises at a speed of at least three times faster than any other boat, getting safely to your destination in a breeze, in greater style and comfort.

A ground-effect vehicle (GEV), also called a wing-in-ground-effect (WIG), ground-effect craft, wingship, flarecraft or ekranoplan is a vehicle that is able to move over the surface by gaining support from the reactions of the air against the surface of the earth or water. Typically, it is designed to glide over a level surface, usually over the sea, by making use of ground effect, the aerodynamic interaction between the moving wing and the surface below. Some models can operate over any flat area such as frozen lakes or flat plains similar to a hovercraft.

WidgetWorks developers of the Airfish owns all patents, intellectual property rights and know-how for the design and production of all Airfish types of WIG craft and also the license and exclusive rights to market and distribute Airfish technology worldwide. All the licenses were obtained from Airfoil Development GmbH (AFD). At the same period, Wigetworks also acquired a prototype of Airfish 8, an 8-seater WIG craft and Airfish 3; an 2-seater WIG craft built by AFD based Dr Alexander Martin Lippisch's reverse delta wing design. Airfish 8 prototype, later named as AF8-001, was built in Germany in the late 1990s and extensive sea trials were conducted in the Netherlands and in Australia in 2001. In 2004, the prototype was transferred to Wigetworks and after refurbishment the prototype went for a series of successful sea trials in Thailand in 2007 and in Singapore in 2008. Lloyd's Register granted AF8-001 entry into class in 2010.

AirFish 8 (AF8) is an 8-10-seater WIG Craft with a 17m x 15m footprint. It is designed to be operated by 2 crew and carrying capacity for 6-8 passengers in standard civilian transport configuration. It is powered by a powerful yet compact V8 car engine that runs on 95 Octane automotive-grade unleaded gasolines.

Wigetworks has embarked on a long journey into manufacturing of Airfish 8 pre-production craft and also intensive research and development activities on WIG technology. During October 2010 the company commissioned production of Airfish 8 Pre-Production Craft. In October 2015 she had her maiden flight and in December of the same year successfully completed maximum take-off weight trials (MTOW).

In November 2016 the second pre-production aircraft usefully aircraft. In March 2017 the second production craft was officially registered as a International Yacht with Langkawi International Yacht Registry (LIYR) of Malaysia and renamed as the M/Y Airfish Voyager. She completed her long-distance endurance flight/voyage (350 nautical miles) in the Straits of Malacca alongside busy international shipping lanes from Port of Malacca to the resort island of Langkawi, Malaysia, to participate in Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace exhibition 2017

In July of 2023 Widgitworks commenced a joint venture with ST Engineering. The main purpose of the joint venture is to commercialize Wing-in-Ground (WIG) effect craft technology and to be the centre of excellence of WIG technology.

The advantages of WIG Aircraft are numerous, the technology offers lower fuel consumption per nautical mile with higher payload capacity per nautical mile. Operationally it requires no runway meaning that very low set up cost is required. There is large market out there that can be served by WIG technology.

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