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The Ocean seaplane project

Ocean Aircraft Ltd is developing two to twenty-one seat amphibious and straight 'Ocean' seaplanes.

The Ocean seaplanes blend state-of-the-art marine and aviation technologies to remove the factors that have historically confined seaplanes.  The rewards for aircraft operators lie in diverse new destinations and routes, greater revenues and higher profit margins.


Environmental implications are exceptional in using carbon-neutral power systems, in cruise efficiency and direct-to-destination operations reducing demands on secondary transports, and with no need for airfields, leaving the natural environment untouched.

The breakthrough

In 1950, seaplane developer Glenn Martin (later Lockheed Martin) described implications of new hull developments in “… a significantly superior hydrodynamic solution to many current problems… ".  Yet these developments have not been exploited among light or civil transport seaplanes.

Using contrasting principles, fast ferry and sailing multihull speeds have doubled in 20 years from 1980, causing revolutions in those industries.  Nor are their hull forms used in seaplane design, with every text on seaplane hull design spelling out why the principles cannot be adopted for seaplane use ... but wrongly so. 

Racing Trimaran SOPRA

This is where the breakthrough opportunity lies and why the Ocean seaplanes can aim even higher than what Glenn Martin had its sights on, which was  "… vastly expanded potentialities of water based aircraft in general.” 


With a fresh conceptual approach and a series of innovations, preliminary work included:

  • Updating the processes that developed the big seaplanes of past, including engineering new high-speed hull-test equipment.

  • Carrying out extensive testing and development of new-concept hull forms.

  • Using Computational Fluid Dynamics and proprietary software to optimise hull form and the marriage between boat and aircraft.

  • Trialling and developing reduced-scale new-concept seaplanes and Ocean’s own GULL UAV seaplanes, testing in all extremes.

Step by step, problems were overcome, solutions developed and the new hull forms and their step-change benefits were proven.  The marriage of hull to aircraft configuration was refined to secure complementary aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, bringing further advantages. 


Ocean GULL UAV in flight
Ocean GULL UAV seaplane at speed

The success of the programme has formed the foundations for the development and manufacture of an exceptionally capable, cost-effective and sustainable new generation of aircraft.

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