Winged boat flies out to distant native islands
Aeromarine, a marine transport firm headquartered on Ulleung Island, successfully tested on Tuesday a boat named the Aaron 7 that is capable of taking off and landing on water as well as low flight.
It was the first test before the boat can be used commercially. The five-seat vessel, manufactured by C&S AMT using indigenous technologies, flew from Pohang, North Gyeongsang, to Ulleung Island in the East Sea.
Starting from the second half of this year, travel time between the island and Pohang is likely to be shortened to slightly less than an hour and a half. Currently, it takes about three hours to reach the island from Pohang with the passenger ship Sunflower.
The new boat can fly as fast as 200 kilometers (124 miles) per hour.
Four people, including an executive from the ship’s manufacturer, boarded the Aaron 7, which made the trip in an hour and 25 minutes. About 100 residents on the island greeted the ship with cheers as they watched the Aaron land on water. A few years ago, a helicopter was used to carry civilians between Korean islands. But the operation was suspended a few days after it began due to mechanical problems.
“Since the Aaron 7 flies five meters [16 feet] above the sea at high speeds, it is not directly affected by rough seas,” said Choi Young-keun, 56, head of Aeromarine. “The biggest advantage of this new ship is that passengers don’t have to worry about getting seasick or having operations suspended due to rough seas.”
In case of severe waves, the ship can take off and land at other ports not experiencing problems, Choi said. If the North Gyeongsang government approves the use of the Aaron 7, a total of three boats are slated to be in operation between the island and Pohang, said Choi. The fare for a one-way ticket is expected to be 130,000 won ($113). But Aeromarine is considering lowering that so many residents in the island can take advantage of the craft.
Aeromarine is planning to operate a 14-seat vehicle starting late this year if the business goes well.
The design was first developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
By Song Yee-ho [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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