Next BigFuture, the leading marine engine company in the world, has announced its latest venture, an aircraft-powered propulsion system called the SeaScape.
The company has been in the business of designing and manufacturing large-scale propulsion systems for decades, but the SeaScan is the first time it has built a plane-powered version.
The SeaScaper can be powered by an air-cooled, turbojet-powered plane or by a single, jet-powered engine.
The jet engine is a large-capacity one, capable of producing 10,000 pounds of thrust.
The propeller, meanwhile, can be used to push the plane to high speeds.
The AirScan uses a single engine to propel the plane at a top speed of 100 knots.
The engine is designed for use on larger planes like the 737, 777, and 737 Max.
SeaScan’s founder and CEO, Dave Toth, says the company is excited about the prospect of a fully-autonomous aircraft-based propulsion system.
“The SeaScapes aircraft will be able to achieve the full range of flying capabilities,” he says.
“It’s the first aircraft-power propulsion system we’ve seen in a large, passenger airliner.”
The SeaScan engine can operate in an autopilot mode that uses the onboard computers to steer the plane in flight.
But Toth notes that the engine will be powered only by electricity, not from onboard fuel.
SeaScapes engine will also be able make use of an external power source like batteries or a generator, like those powering cruise ships.
The power source will be a battery operated by the SeaScoop, a software-defined-purpose power source that can be plugged into a power inverter that runs in the aircraft’s cockpit.
The inverter will generate electricity when the engine is running and then use that electricity to run the engine during the flight.
It’s an interesting idea that could make SeaScapers engines more efficient, but it will take some time to scale up production.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” says Toth.
“Once we’ve demonstrated that it works, we can begin production of it and the Seascape.
Once we’ve got that up and running, we’re going to have to scale production up.
We’ll be able start ramping up production as quickly as we can.”
The company says it plans to use the engine to power its commercial jetliners.
It will be used for short-haul flights between destinations like the United Kingdom and the United States.
If SeaScaping’s aircraft engines work well, it might make a commercial version of the Sea Scape available as early as 2020.
“If it works well, we’ll be ready to launch the first production flight in the second half of 2020,” says Tom Lomax, president and CEO of SeaScaped.
“And that will enable us to take the first step to bringing SeaScapy to the marketplace.”
Toth acknowledges that the SeaSCape’s engine will only be used in the next-generation 737 Max, but he also said the company’s plane-power engine could be used on the 737 Max and the 737 MAX Max.
“I think there’s a real opportunity to have a plane powered engine on a plane,” says Lomacz.
“That’s what we want to build and the aircraft we build.”
The AirScape engine could also be used as a commercial jet, though the company says that “it will only work on planes that have the full power package.”
Toph says the AirScapes plane-based engine could eventually be used by airlines like Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, or Singapore Airlines.
The future of the jet engine, in other words, could be very bright indeed.