I thought that this thread was rather mishandled irrespective of the subject matter --I and others posted thoughts about 'upgraded' MPAs using some auxillary power to reduce the size of the airframe and get the 'flying man' experience rather than being flown . On some other thread quite a while back (the scam flapping wing man powered device comes to mind which was accompanied by a doctored video if that jogs any memories)
Famed motorcycle customizer Craig Vetter actually proposed a competition for a low flying device akin to a flying bicycle --but without the sensible caveats that the originator of this thread proposed (still conditions over salt lakes ) --THAT is a stupid idea in my view . (vetter's competition was still on line last time I looked )
Henry kremer actually hoped that some sort of recreational aerial bicycling activity would emerge from the competition -probably using toned down versions of the record machines and I think this is a realistic expectation especially if solar cells printed on cheap covering material and rare earth electric motors get cheaper . It is not necessary for such aircraft to be fragile or uncontrollable in reasonable winds as implied and flight at low altitudes can be safe enough if the aircraft is designed well -- we used to have a routine of doing a 'fly in' on the last flight of the day at my old gliding club -- the flight was finished by diving to within a few inches off the ground at or near VNE and then letting speed wash off over a mile of grazing the grass as speed bled off and if properly judged a gentle roll to a halt next to the hangar . It was a thrilling experience and good practice for competition finishes that used to be at fence top height (now this sort of final glide is banished..) Probably for the same sort of reason the driving cars fast is attractive or thrilling so is very low flight and should be able to be accomadated in the right place and time if someone so desires -- ultralights had no minimum height to begin with here (Australia) in fact the UPPER limit was 400ft so the thrill of flying low was part of the deal and just about the only incentive. The local powered parachute operation routinely flies at just a few feet AGL chasing kangaroos and foxes on the outskirts of Melbourne -- it doesn't seem that outrageous in practice because of the pitch stability and low speed (except downwind...) of these sort of things and no chance to stall or catch a wingtip . seems like it could be quite fun to explore this sort of thing and revive some of the excitement that just sliding down hills at a few feet which started gliding.
Kaien(海燕)-3, our third radio controlled model is flying.
(full length of the movie is Kaien-3: fugure-8 flight test of WISES model (full length movie) - YouTube )
It is 7.2m in length. Propellers are driven by two Wankel type rotary engines. The model is almost equivalent to a two-seat experimental ship in size. The model demonstrates a super high speed ship concept. Although its basic technology is the same as that of WIGs and ekranoplans, the canard configuration leads to better performance and efficiency.
Below is the website of a korean WIG manufacturer, the second diagram on their web (below) shows the relation between L/D and speed of different vehicle configurations. Wigs are somehow in the middle between trains, cars and prop driven airplanes etc... Technology - Wingship Technology Corporation
According to the diagram a WIG is less eficient than a train. The obvious advantage is that a WIG can move above the water.
If that is true I don´t think the japanese government will sponsor WIGs as a possible subsitute for their train network.
Refering again to the diagram, the only posible way to move through a wide range of speeds with optimal energy efficiency (L/D) with a single vehicle would require that the vehicle allows for different configurations (ex: Hydrobaot->Hydrofoil->WIG->Airplane). The only other posible options apart from using different vehicles are far more expensive: Harrier, helicos...
-)Thanks Ultralajt for the clarifications of the japanese WIG, I too saw some comments on the youtube but I couldn´t be sure if they were 100% true. There wasn´t a specific web of the builder etc.
This WIG has certainly a bizarre configuration, not only the canard but the props in the nose probably help to increase the speed of the air above the wing: creating some extra lift.
This is strange, most small wigs have a pusher prop configuration to keep away the prop from the "splash zone". The only WIG I recall having props on the nose was the monster size ekranoplan.
Now we miss Orion´s comments who was the reference for the WIG concept.