This is coolbert:
Here is that gigantic Soviet era float plane I remember reading about some years ago now.
The Ekranoplan. The Caspian Sea Monster.
Designed to be flown only a FEW FEET above the water. Would get a significant boost in lift from what is called "ground effect" [actually above the water in this case]!!
"Caspian Sea Monster . . . one of several Soviet military designs meant to fly only a few meters above water, saving energy"
"a vehicle resembling an aircraft but which operates solely on the principle of ground effect (in Russian эффект экрана effekt ekrana - from which the name derived). Ground effect vehicles (GEV) fly above any flat surface, with the height above ground dependent upon the size of the vehicle."
Resembles an aircraft. NO, it is an aircraft. Uses wings for lift and can fly as a conventional airplane does. Flies, however, only a few feet or so above the ground. Ekranoplan is a flying boat tremendous lift capability, range, speed [not excessive].
"Wing In Ground effect, which refers to the reduction in drag experienced by an aircraft as it approaches a height approximately twice a wingspan's length off the ground or other level surface (such as the sea) . . . has also been used to effectively enhance the performance of certain kinds of aircraft whose planform has been adapted to take advantage of it, such as the Russian ekranoplans."
"The ground effect was first encountered in the mid 1920s by pilots during taking off in and, above all, landing low-winged aircraft. There was a marked increase in wing lift, so that an aircraft continued to fly just above the ground, as though it did not want to land."
"developed by the Soviet Union as very high-speed military transports, and were based mostly on the shores of the Caspian Sea and Black Sea . . . were initially planned to enter military service in the Soviet Navy . . . to be deployed mainly for the Black and the Baltic Soviet navies."
Several comments here.
I had originally read that the Ekranoplan was designed as a hunter-killer anti-submarine aircraft. Would have incredible range and could operate over pelagic waters [deep-water] NOT confined to conventional bases. WOULD BE ABLE TO HUNT AMERICAN SUBMARINES ANY PLACE IN THE WORLD. Such a mission did not transpire.
[a fleet of refuelling vessels would be strategically located to service the Ekranoplan flying boats?! Global reach achieved with relative ease?!]
The "thing" just DOES NOT LOOK RIGHT!! As with the American "Pogo" and "Osprey", the design IS NOT RIGHT!!?? Too top-heavy and ungainly. Look at those engines on TOP and the huge tail.
This aircraft will work well over shallow bodies of water?! The Caspian Sea or the Baltic?! WOULD NOT HAVE WORKED WELL OVER A BODY OF WATER WITH CONSIDERABLE WAVE ACTION, SUCH AS THE ATLANTIC OR PACIFIC!!??
[as long as you fly in a STRAIGHT LINE, there is not problem also! As a person [myself], who has actually flown an aircraft in ground effect, I can see that just trying to TURN the plane would pose a great danger. You run the risk at very-low altitude of having a wing tip strike the water - - with catastrophic results!!]
Only a handful of the Ekranoplan ever were built. Those in existence were primarily of the concept and testing variety?!
A combat variation of the Ekranoplan was also planned. The Lun. ONLY ONE LUN ever flew!
"The aircraft was equipped for anti-submarine warfare. It was therefore fitted with six missile launchers, mounted in pairs on the dorsal surface of the fuselage, and advanced tracking systems mounted in the nose and tail."
Eight engines and six missile firing pods atop the "beast". It too looks ungainly. Does not look right!! [I am not an aeronautical engineer. But my intuitive observation of the ekranoplan is valid?!]
The Ekranoplan just were NOT as effective as one would have liked. An interesting concept worthy of "investigation". But that is about all!?