Here at Inhabitat we’ve seen our fair share of airplanes repurposed into incredible new forms, but this heavy-duty recycling plan takes the cake. A company called Hydro Lance proposes to transform old, obsolete aircraft into high-speed ocean vessels by replacing their wings with narrow pontoons. An old 727-200 could be converted into a high-speed, ultra-stable passenger ferry capable of traveling at a speed of more than 120 knots (nearly 140 mph).
Hydro Lance compares its HARTH pontoon system to logs which sit stable even in rough water. Long narrow pontoons spread the varying forces of waves, rather than being rocked about by them. Because of this characteristic, Hydro Lance vessels should be very smooth to ride in, with only slight rolling, even in very rough seas.
The company’s website has a vintage video discussing the technology, showing a scale demonstration vessel in operation, and discussing some of the other benefits ships built with the HARTH system would offer. They also claim that the HARTH technology would provide seven times the fuel economy per passenger mile.
The retro-styling is interesting, but it’s questionable whether passengers would want to have an aircraft seating arrangement for more than a couple hours. However, as the folks at Dvice pointed out, if there had been a number of these on hand during the recent European airspace closure, they probably would have been full with passengers who still wanted to get where they were headed.