Photo © Dmitriy Pichugin - Russian AviaPhoto Team
Photo © Fyodor Borisov - Russian AviaPhoto Team
Is there any reason why this genre - jet-powered amphibious transports, whether for cargo or passengers - could not be popularized across much of North America? I'm thinking that this would be an ideal type of aircraft for quickly linking lakeside communities: there's no need to build full-fledged airports per se. Also, with the advent of composite materials, I'm sure that aircraft like the Beriev and any potential extensions of the general concept can be built so as to largely resist water-based corrosion.
Does anyone foresee a potential future expansion of the market for jet-powered amphibs, not as fire-fighting aircraft, but as transports?
Another aspect of this design that probably isn't taken into account much is its inherent attractiveness for overwater operations in general: If you have a dual engine failure, you can actually land the aircraft in a way that its design supports - never mind "ditching", which has less attractive connotations . . . Surely, this fact should be weighed against the inherent drag disincentives of the design.