Burt Rutan talking about designing his SkiGull seaplane

Burt Rutan talks about his SkiGull seaplane. Many similarities with AWE kiteplanes: landing on rough surfaces, salt water resistance, in-flight battery charging, composite and foam construction.

This is an invitation to listen to the podcast and perhaps learn something, and perhaps discuss similarities in requirements and solutions.

3 posts were split to a new topic: PSA: a seaplane is probably not a viable AWES

In addition to the mentioned specificities some configuration could perhaps be a basis for lighter offshore platforms, for example by splitting the seaplane into the flying part of the AWES, and the mobile platform for take-off and landing, with appropriate modifications for an use in big waves.

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Rutan has an amazing willingness to try new things, with a resulting proliferation of designs, but it’s hard to find a real success story. Burt definitely gets an “A” for effort. Despite his talents, it seems like his designs and projects always end up in the “future news that never happened” category. Designs that were supposed to be “a little better” seem to have turned out to be “not quite as good”. Planes supposed to be “somewhat safer” seem to have turned out to be “not quite as safe” (John Denver?). Reminds me of a hypothetical incurable vertical-axis wind turbine inventor - dedicated to unintentionally proving the Wright Brothers’ canard design is “not quite as good” as the typical “bird” layout. Just like Vertical-axis “inventors” end up confirming that the regular windmill design is better. Often when “inventors” can’t think of a step forward, they instead present “a step backward” as a forward step. Everyone falls for it. The press is always hungry for a story. Look what happened to the Beech Starship - a great story of a “great inventor”. Many millions spent. A few were built and sold but, despite a spectacular appearance, they were outperformed by normal airplanes with the conventional layout: tail in the rear. His “Spaceship” effort finally moved forward into the early 20th century - no canards. Looks like the canard thing was one more case of “beating a dead horse”. A mistaken design direction for which he is endlessly celebrted. Well someone had to do it. At least he tried. Most people just sit on their asses. His willingness to do new things definitely got him in with Sir Richard Branson, Spaceship-One, etc., for example (note: no canards) . Even with this new seaplane with a (somewhat) more conventional layout (again, no canards), it is not hard to figure out that it will probably be one more design that never goes into production. Seems like there is no news about it in the last few years. I do like the idea of the ~10 HP RC motors with folding props though: Seems perfect for hang-gliders. Seen one example so far on the web - hope it catches on.

Well, seems finally someone made you wrong about the success of the vertical axis windmill by producing a sellable device: https://www.geek.com/science/new-wind-turbine-looks-like-a-tree-generates-power-silently-1612693/

That looks like a terribly inefficient device that is just for show. Have they sold one?

I don’t have a clue… probably not very useful, and seems to produce a lot of plastic waste as well. And ugly to boot. I’d rather have a real tree and a solar panel

So funny. In the world of wind energy, everything repeats. I remember years back when the global warming frenzy was just “warming up” (getting on a roll) there were all sorts of scam turbines being promoted. Instead of flying (airborne), it was all about “rooftop”. One company was installing roof ventilators as wind turbines. Another company was selling some rooftop thingamabob called “Windtree”.
“Windtree” was not shaped like a tree. I don’t even remember wht it looked like but it was dumb on its face for wind people.
I remember thinking why not make a “tree” holding several real small wind turbines? Make the blades green! Well several years later, there it was. To bad they picked a silly and ineffective style of turbine.

Ahah, wind tree is (was in fact) a French company called newind. They had a great media coverage 6 years ago. A French politics even back them for 100 K if I remember well. It was a beautiful 3 tons mettalic structure but the story end there. No economic reality of course, High complexity… None was sold, only one was showcasing at rolland garros.

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