Innovative advanced air mobility (AAM) company REGENT has taken another step in the development of its electric Viceroy seaglider by obtaining the design Approval in Principal certification from independent testing and evaluation company Bureau Veritas.
REGENT announced receipt of the design Approval in Principal (AiP) certificate from Veritas on Tuesday, calling the step a milestone in its work to introduce all-electric seagliders as an alternative to other AAM aircraft under development. In contrast to most of those craft, REGENT is focusing on planes that will operate exclusively over water using in-ground-wing effect. The technique relies on a foil that raises the gliders 10 to 25 feet above the surface, assuring smooth flight on a pillow of air.
The Veritas AiP vouches for the design of REGENT’s flagship 12-seat Viceroy planes – one of a few AAM seaglidercraft for which the company has already received $7 billion in provisional orders.
Earlier this year it signed a cooperation pact with the state of Hawaii to develop AAM travel as an alternative to current inter-island air transport and inked contracts with two local carriers – including Hawaiian Airlines – for Viceroy seagliders acquisitions.
Though an independent and private company, Veritas’s green light is considered a critical step towards an eventual certification application to regulators.
As part of its 10-month analysis of REGENT’s design, Veritas examined and tested the proposed Viceroy structure, mechanical systems, avionics, propulsion, and safety systems. Throughout the process, Veritas provided preliminary expert advice back to REGENT, with a particular focus on the early identification of rules and regulatory framing for the seaglider’s classification within the wider range of emerging AAM aircraft.
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REGENT cheered reception of the Veritas AiP as a vital step in the long and exacting process that its Viceroy aircraft and other electric AAM seagliders need to navigate before taking to the skies just above the water.
“This certification milestone is an extremely important moment for the seaglider’s design and technical maturity,” said REGENT CEO Billy Thalheimer. “It is the first major outcome of our maritime certification process. The Approval in Principle confirms we are on an achievable certification path towards the commercialization of seagliders. Bureau Veritas and their deep bench of engineering talent with complex maritime vessel experience, has proven a tremendous partner in our certification activities to date, and we are excited to deepen the relationship as we look ahead to the next phase of our design approval process.”
REGENT says the company will now focus on a series of technical studies already underway intended to eventually establish definitive Viceroy design and operation specs with minimal risk of compliance or qualification problems arising.
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The company says it will also leverage the Veritas AiP in support of a Design Basis Agreement (DBA) with the US Coast Guard expected sometime this fall, serving similar functions to G-1 and G-2 issue paper used in Federal Aviation Administration aircraft certification.