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100mph channel ferry aims to be flying in 3 years

Contributed by editor on Jul 05, 2006 - 12:17 AM


100MPH CHANNEL FERRY AIMS TO BE FLYING IN 3 YEARS

 A revolutionary French ferry could soon be speeding passengers and freight across the English Channel at more than 100 miles per hour - without touching the water.

It's not a boat, even though it uses a port, and it's not a plane, even though it gets airborne. The wingboat, or Wing-In-Ground-Effect, is based o­n the principle that allows gulls to glide low.

The French Government has awarded £300,000 to Focus 21, a Marseilles company that is developing the Aeroptere, as it calls the new transport. The Aeroptere is a high-tech venture with industrial backing. Focus 21 aims to have a prototype flying in three years.