REGENT announced it has received an Approval in Principle (AIP) from Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore for its 12-passenger, fully electric, wing-in-ground effect (WIG) seaglider, the Viceroy. This AIP marks an important certification milestone for seagliders, offering a clear path for the vehicle’s classification as a wing in ground effect (WIG) maritime vessel and the commencement of commercial seaglider operations. REGENT currently has a backlog of $7 billion in provisional orders for their seagliders from ferry and aviation operators.
The AIP is a validated third-party technical assessment for the seaglider completed by Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore. The AIP is the culmination of a 10-month long engagement between REGENT and Bureau Veritas engineers, which included a series of workshops encompassing aspects of the vehicle’s structure, mechanical systems, avionics, propulsion, and safety systems. Throughout the process, Bureau Veritas provided preliminary expert advice with a focus on the early identification of rules and regulatory framing for the seaglider’s classification.
“This certification milestone is an extremely important moment for the seaglider’s design and technical maturity. 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 ultimately making progress towards the commercialization of seagliders,” said Billy Thalheimer, co-founder and CEO of REGENT. “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.”
The AIP will be followed by a design appraisal process, a series of technical studies that are now underway that will allow the implementation of the seaglider’s design and operation without significant risk of compliance or qualification issues. In conducting a Design Appraisal, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore will provide an independent, safety-based certification of REGENT’s seaglider design. REGENT will also be leveraging the AIP in support of a Design Basis Agreement (DBA) with the US Coast Guard, which is expected this fall. The AIP and DBA form a classification and certification basis with both Bureau Veritas and the U.S. Coast Guard, similar to the G-1 and G-2 issue paper used in FAA aircraft certification.
This AIP marks an important milestone for REGENT before it commences serial production of the new vessel. It’s a significant step forward to enabling seaglider operations in countries around the world.
“Society is accelerating its move toward highly digitalized, decarbonized transportation solutions. Our work with Seagliders has been an opportunity for Bureau Veritas to further share and develop our expertise in new systems and technologies including electric propulsion systems, high-speed hydrofoils, and digital fly-by-wire control systems whilst also assessing the safety of these systems,” said Laurent Leblanc, Senior Vice-President, Technical & Operations, Bureau Veritas, Marine and Offshore.