So now that the site's live, and shit's off to the races, and I'm allowed to show a little bit of the awesome project I've been working my ass off to crush, these last few months, lemme share a little bit more about the electric wing-in-ground-effect craft now known as a seaglider.
This has been an absolute dream project for me, the type of thing I've been waiting years to be a part of. If you squint at it, you can probably see hints of stuff I was trying to do almost 20 years ago, with my thesis model at CCS:
Like the Porsche 977 Bergsteiger.
Stuff like composite, stressed-skin over a frame, electric propolusion, great visibility, access, aero everything, and functionality. Oh, and racing proto looks:
I don't have to explain ekranoplans here, y'all know what I'm talking about. But now that batteries and motors are starting to enable realistic packages, the time to take advantage of ground-effect flight looks to be here. Plus hyrdofoils like an AC75.
So, what the hell does this process look like? It starts with a bunch of meetings with aero engineers. They handed me their initial CAD swag, which looked appropriate for Rip Riley
I started with design research and sketching.
First trying to stick close to the engineering package, then, after receiving permission to push it more, about 300 more sketches.
Until finally hitting the key sketch, that combined all the meetings with aero and hydro engineers, and my own pushing on design attributes, we get to the key sketch, the one that gets buyoff. The right one.
Then comes CAD. In this case, it was all Solidworks, because that's what I pay for. It's not the right tool for the job, but like Rumsfeld said, you go to war with the army you have.
Along the way, you do a ton more meetings, tweak as much as possible as fast as possible, throw a bunch of shit out, lose a couple motors, and work until 4AM, get up at 7, and keep going. Rinse, repeat.
Once that's right enough, it's on to pretty renderings. When you've been working on making products look real in a studio environment for like 15 years, it's a REAL BIG switch to a 12-person craft in a real environment. FUCK! Lots of hair-tearing until there's ANYTHING you'd be ok with showing. And do it in the middle of the Texas Snowstorm Massacre.
Keep working at it...
Until you get to the point that you can show something that's starting to look real enough. Pull in all your photo experience, material experience, and flying experience, and just try really hard to make it look right.
And then, when you have a few minutes while making Sunday morning breakfast with your daughter, you try really quickly to make a Miami Blue GT3 paintjob just for funsies
Like I said, this project is kinda the culmination of everything I've wanted to do since I was a kid: make clean-powered things, things that fly, forward-swept wings, wings that move, biomimicry, and just good design. There's enough bad design out there, and I don't wanna be part of the problem. This is, finally, just the start.
Thanks for listening/reading, Oppo. I wish Davey G Johnson were here to see this. Y'all are just the best people. You're awesome.