Monday, December 16th, 2019

‘Any surface’ hybrid makes debut

Published on March 7, 2014 by   ·   No Comments


The attempt to design and build a viable amphibious craft has created some interesting possibilities (we featured the attractive Iguana 29 in 2012 and also some bizarre failures.

The amphibious vehicle might evoke images of James Bond for some, but all too often these craft can best be described as neither fish nor fowl, being unstable and ungainly on land and not totally reliable on the water.  However, the creators of the ATASD have gone some way to addressing these issues and produced a unique hybrid of an inflatable boat, airboat and hovercraft.

Designed and constructed in Canada by Interconn Development Ltd, and fully certified by Transport Canada, the ATASD (Amphibious Trimaran with AeroStatic Discharge – hence the acronym) has been created primarily as a search and rescue emergency vehicle, although undoubtedly there are less utilitarian (and more fun) uses for this versatile and responsive vehicle.

Officially categorised as a ‘pontoon inflatable boat’, the ATASD obviously includes aspects of a hovercraft since its underside incorporates an inflatable base.  The pontoon structure, however, comes into its own when the craft is on choppy water, since its trimaran design offers greater stability, better tracking and increased buoyancy for heavy loads than a traditional hovercraft.  The rear propulsion system also gives a nod to traditional airboat design and ensures that this ATASD has a fair bit of zip, a very necessary quality for search and rescue.




Matt Robson, a spokesman for Interconn emphasises the ATASD’s suitability when compared to other rescue craft saying, “With the extensive flooding in Britain at the moment, traditional boats are proving completely ineffective due to the underwater obstacles and waterborne debris.”  Presumably the ATASD can just rise above it all.

Indeed its ability to skim along the top of the water is what gives the ATASD the edge, especially as it’s able to do so bearing a load of pilot plus six seated or nine standing passengers, or 450 kilograms of cargo.  The pontoons included in the trimaran design have a soft and resilient surface, meaning that they protect the craft and its cargo in the event of low-speed impacts and are also far less likely than standard rescue boats to harm people who might be in the water.

The ATASD has a 140 hp 2.0 litre Ford Duratec engine and can reach 90 km/h on water and 120 on ice or snow.  It uses approximately 22 litres of 87-octane petrol each hour when at a cruising speed of 60 to 65 km/h.




Despite its clear advantage as a search and rescue craft, Matt Robson and the Interconn team see the ATASD’s market extending far beyond this: “Of course, there are many other applications for ATASD including yacht tender, recreation, border security, oil and gas operations, drug interdiction, surveying and environmental monitoring.”

The promotional material describes this versatile craft as having: “The speed, agility and structure of an airboat, the “go anywhere” capability of the hovercraft and the stability and payload of a pontoon inflatable boat.” That neatly sums up its three-in-one appeal.

Priced at $US 75,000 (or roughly £45,000) the ATASD is an affordable option for emergency services around the world.  And, with extreme weather and frequent flooding becoming more of an issue in the UK, maybe we’ll see these handsome hybrids rescuing people and pets in Britain’s flood plains very shortly.











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