Across the Atlantic in 1 1/3 days in a ship that carries 2,000 passengers at half the present fare -- and in a ship that rides on air.
G.V.PAN FROM PASSING TRAM TO THE HOME OF MR. CARL WEILAND.
C.U. OFFICE SIGN - CARL WEILAND.
W. INT. MR. WEILAND AT HIS DESK. WALKS TO DIAGRAM OF PASSENGER SHIP ETC.
S.C.U. STILL OF A NEW TYPE AIRCRAFT CARRIER.
L.V. MR. WEILAND WALKS TOWARDS MODEL OF SHIP, TURNS MODEL TO CAMERA.
C.U. HE LAYS MODEL ON FLOOR.
C.U. STARTING VENTILATOR ON MODEL
T.V. SHOWING MODEL IN THE AIR.
S.V. MR. WEILAND WORKING MODEL.
T.V. MODEL REVOLVING.
Initials V.L. AW/JD
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Background: Across the Atlantic in 1 1/3 days in a ship that carries 2,000 passengers at half the present fare -- and in a ship that rides on air.
Such is the things-to-come vision of 49-year-old Swiss inventor Carl Weiland, whose idea of air-cushion travel a few feet above the sea is being vetted at the moment by some of the world's leading aviation and maritime engineers.
Weiland's ideas have leapt into a field of research previously the territory of Great Britain. Saunders-Roe, the aircraft firm, has for more than a year been testing a theory on similar lines. Now they have admitted that Weiland's project is better than their own and have taken out a preliminary option on it.
Weiland has a "carpet model" floating ship in the Zurich flat where he works alone on the drawing board. The model is in the shape of a flat case, 5 ft. by 3 ft., and in the ordinary way is clumsy to handle. Plug in the small electric fan in the centre, however, an air cushion is quickly built up underneath and the case hovers, gravity-free, a few inches from the floor. A gentle, finger-tip touch will send it floating against the wall. Its movement is smooth, loose and balanced, like a spirit level bubble.
The full-scale dream of this pleasant, quiet-spoken Swiss envisages a transatlantic, low-flying saucer, 900ft. across-- the ideal size technically, says Weiland -- weighting 40,000 tons, lifted above 8 ft. from the water and propelled at 150 mph by airscrews on deck. It would be steered by air fins, like a conventional plane.
Main technical problem is to make the air cushion as efficient as possible by reducing the escape of air to the minimum. Weiland has evolved an original answer to this, using the so-called "labyrinth" system of air chambers well-known to designers of gas turbines. Here, he believes, and with considerable support, is the way to the ship of the future that literally floats on air.