Airfoil Development Gmbh (AFD) was founded in 1997 by Hanno Fischer & Klaus Matjastic to develop and manufacture Ground Effect Craft, also known as WIG Craft.
Its first successful WIG craft to be produced was the Airfish 8 which is an 8-seaters WIG Craft and has been certified by Germanischer Lloyd (GL). It is now owned and developed by Wigetworks of Singapore.
At the sametime, Hanno Fischer developed the Hoverwing technology as a request from German Ministry of Research & Development. The goal was to develop a large Ground Effect Craft for future marine transportation. To proof the concept, HW2VT, a 2-seaters WIG Craft, was manufactured and tested. The maiden flight took place in 1997 on the lake Baldeney nearby the city of Essen, Germany. It was flown also in the Baltic Sea.
HW2VT’s test flight was successful in which all the requirements for a Ground Effect craft were fulfilled. Some of those requirements are high speed, high efficiency, maneuverability and low power. Consequently, a 20-seaters Hoverwing (the Hoverwing 20, HW20) was decided to be developed and manufactured for commercialization.
In 2008, GECAT Corporation acquired AFD and injected fresh fund to start with the development and manufacturing of HW20. HW20 is expected to fly towards the mid of 2012.
About Hanno Fischer & Klaus Matjastic
Hanno Fischer had been working with ground effect craft since the late sixties. With consultation from Dr Lippisch, he first developed the X-113 for the German Ministry of Defense. X-113 was the successor of X-112 which was developed by Dr Lippisch to experiment with the ground effect craft. The result was a reversed delta wing with high positioned horizontal tail to achieve good stability in ground effect.
Different configurations were also tested to improve the seaworthiness. Thus, X-114 & X-114H were developed. X-114 was designed with catamaran concept where the fuselage was above the water and the sponsons on the tip of the wings were to give the displacement needed. At the sametime, X-114H was equipped with hydrofoils. The Xs were designed as a ground effect crafts as well as free flight aircrafts.
In 1979, Hanno Fischer & Klaus Matjastic developed the Airfish 1 which was purely a ground effect craft and thus it was unable to achieve free flight. Several reasons why they developed a pure ground effect craft. First of all, their experiences show that a good ground effect craft is a bad aircraft and vice versa. Secondly, a ground effect should be very economical in production and operation. This is achieved by registering the craft as a boat.
Airfish 1 was then modified to Airfish 2 with smaller wings to be able to fit into regular marine facilities. The tests were very successful in which they were able to achieve high speed with low power as a marine craft. For demonstration purposes, Airfish 3 was built.
It was a 2-seaters and promoted as a recreational craft during the 1992 Miami Boat Show. Unfortunately, the production of Airfish 3 was stopped as the American licensee tried to build unauthorized copies of the craft and thus, breach the contracts.
In 1997, Airfish 8 was developed and tested for Flightship Ground Effect Pty Ltd (Australia). It was the first Ground Effect Craft to be certified by Germanischer Llyod. Currently, it is now owned and developed by Wigetworks of Singapore.
Earlier, Hanno Fischer was also working to build a large scale ground effect craft for the German Ministry of Research & Development. Thus was born the Hoverwing technology. In 1997, Hoverwing technology was successfully demonstrated by HW2VT, a 2-seaters Hoverwing.
HW2VT forms the basis of all future Hoverwing models. The next step will be the realization and commercialization of Hoverwing 20 which is now being manufactured.