Background

The Ocean seaplane project has faced and overcome major business and technical challenges over an iterative development. These have included:

  • multiple fundamental independent failings of current seaplanes all needing to be addressed together to enable new freedoms and market expansion.
  • needing a totally new conceptual approach to hull development, contradicting all published instructions which lead away from essential advances in performance and seaworthiness.
  • needing new specialist facilities for many of the tests required to develop and validate seaplane concepts.
  • the lack of information to support the business case, the organisations representing the industry attaching little importance to seaplanes and not distinguishing seaplanes from landplanes in statistics.
  • the complete obscurity of the Ocean market in not knowing either what is possible in engineering out constraints of old, or their implications.

A determined and extraordinary team has systematically filled the gaps, answered the unknowns and both developed and validated integrated solutions. A range of theoretical and computer analysis methods have been applied successfully, including developing bespoke software. Diverse testing has been carried out, including test-rig mounted hull trialling and flight-testing at reduced scale using Ocean seaplane configurations and sophisticated GULL UAVs (both using Warrior's highly beneficial hull forms and the same Ocean configuration. Product specification has been guided by the world's most successful seaplane operating authorities in both Harbour Air and Trans Maldivian Airways.

During this work;

  • the need for versatile 'multi-modal' aircraft to relieve growing pressures on aviation hubs, has been increasing
  • the need to reduce demands on secondary surface transport and associated infrastructure serving them and connecting travellers to destinations has been increasing.
  • the pressure to replace inefficient aircraft has been increasing.

In answering all of these, the Ocean seaplane opportunity is growing and being increasingly highlighted.

Awards to Warrior

UK ROYAL AERONAUTICAL SOCIETY - HANDLEY PAGE AWARD
MAINE TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE - TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AWARD
DTI AND AEROSPACE DIRECTORATE - SMART EXCEPTIONAL AWARD