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Floating an amphibious idea: enthusiast designs widebody twin hull flying boat
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What will commercial aircraft look like in the future? To answer this question, a revisit to the past might be necessary. This includes studying a possible return to seaplanes for cities within 30 miles of coastal waters, Airbus VP strategic marketing Philippe Jarry said in mid-March at the ISTAT conference in Orlando. Jarry makes a good point. People are flocking to coastlines around the world "in one of the greatest human migrations of modern times", writes John Tibbetts in his excellent November 2002 article Coastal cities - living on the Edge. "Many experts argue that cities will have to cope with almost all of the population growth to come in the next two decades, and much of this increase will occur in coastal urban centers."


Mindful of this, and the fact that at some point in the future flying boats might replace a lot of the work performed by container ships and cargo-configured aircraft, a Vancouver-based aviation enthusiast has laid out a design for a widebody twin hull flying boat. Richard Benbaruj is not an engineer or even a pilot. He's a self-taught designer who is "trying to turn a real passion into a career". He says he proposed the design to Canada's National Defence department, which says it's not interested at this time, and gave Bombardier a look-see a few years ago.


Bombardier already holds a presence in the amphibious sector with the Bombardier 415 or Superscooper as it is marketed in the USA. Bombardier sees "expanding the role beyond fire fighting", says the manufacturer's director, program management office and director of marketing, Benjamin Boehm. While the company is not currently looking at a commercial amphibious aircraft, he says: "The good thing is that Bombardier is positioned well. We have a foot in that water per say."


So, where does Benbaruj go from here with his design? Well that's where you come in. Here are some photos of static models and sketches of Benbaruj's mid-size version, which he estimates could hold 200 passengers. The configuration calls for a twin hull, high wing, with an integral elevator mounted on the trailing edge of the bridge, and a single vertical stabilizer. Two turbofan engines would be mounted on top of the wing. So, do you think this bird will fly?


R - Rudder

V - Vertical Stabilizer

W - Wing

T - Turbofan

C - Cockpit

H - Hull

B - Bridge

E - Elevator


Benbaruj 8.jpg


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Benbaruj 2.jpg

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Posted Tue, May 20 2008 5:22 PM by Runway Girl | Report Abuse