MEGA MACHINES, World’s Strangest Ship, Episode 3
Demo Flight on The Airfish on 19th May 2016
A short account (by Captain Alan Pickering, Promarine Yachts, Singapore)
We rendezvoused at Raffles Marina at 6.45am for the drive up to Malacca. Gerry had packed well selected egg and bacon sandwiches for emergency survival provisions, which stood us in good stead for the whole return journey.
We crossed the 2nd Link by 7.15am and arrived in Malacca, at The Airfish berth, right on time at 10am, after picking up Mike Willie from his Malacca Gateway office. After a review of the vessel and a safety brief, we began to tow out into the launching area by dinghy. During the tow we sat on the wing base while we were briefed on the practical and technical aspects of the vessel and what we expected in terms of weather and take off possibilities. The vessel is remarkably roomy inside and when the engine fired up it was still reasonably quiet and still possible to hold a conversation.
Having let go the towing dinghy we settled in for a very impressive take off procedure. After the initial minor bumping from the crest of the small offshore chop, the vessel lifted off and suddenly any bumping from the waves stopped and the amazing sensation of speed imposed itself on us.
We were all excited by the gathering momentum and the sea flashing by just 2 metres below us. As we reached a speed of approximately 100 kts the captain banked hard to port, showing very easy manoeuvrability and dexterity that demonstrated how quickly and easily changes of course could be made and how any obstacle can be avoided.
We sped majestically along the coast of the Malacca Gateway project and around a number of rocky outcrops before heading back to base.
The comfortable and exhilarating short flight was over in about 15 minutes and the huge potential of this mode of transport was made evidently clear. The landing was very smooth and quiet and the vessel came to a taxiing mode with a few hundred metres.
We were all very excited and, with adrenalin still pumping, and Gerry trying to kickstart his pacemaker, we began exploring how and where The Airfish could come into its own. A short meeting with the management team ensued and then we were on our way back to Singapore.
It was a wonderful and fascinating day out which stimulated much thought for the journey back home.