The date of birth of ekranoplanes is considered to be 1962. The main feature of the new mode of transport was the combination of the capabilities of an aircraft and an ekranolet. The father of ekranoplanes was Rostislav Alekseev, a shipbuilding engineer.
How an ekranoplan flies
In aircraft construction and aviation, one interesting effect was noticed, when the plane landed, the so-called "screen effect" arose, which the engineers proposed to use as a driving force for the aircraft.
According to the peculiarities of the structure and principle of operation, ekranoplans are closest to sea vessels using this principle. Only the air cushion of an ekranoplan is created not by forcing air with special devices, but by an oncoming flow. The pressure under the lower plane of the wing increases, which keeps the technique in flight above the surface of the water.
Such conditions are created only at very low altitudes (from a few centimeters to several meters), which is why ekranoplanes are used mainly above water. They can also fly over a normal surface, only it must be flat, without trees and strong curvature of the terrain.
It was supposed to use this technique both above the surface of the water and at an altitude of up to 7500 meters. To test the capabilities of ekranoplanes, he created an experimental model of the KM "Ship-Layout". However, foreign experts deciphered these letters in their own way - "Caspian Monster" (Kaspian Monster).
The ekranoplan had a wingspan of almost 38 meters, a length of 92 meters, and a maximum takeoff weight of 544 tons. Before the advent of the An-225 Mriya, it was the heaviest aircraft in the world. On June 22, 1966, before dawn, the largest aircraft at that time on the planet was launched from the Volga pier. So the tests began.
Test flights were carried out at a specially created test and delivery station on the Caspian Sea near the city of Kaspiysk (Dagestan). For a long 15 years, tests of this miracle of technology were going on, until an accident occurred in 1980 due to pilot error. There were no casualties, moreover, the ekranoplan remained afloat for another week, but no attempts were made to save it. He sank in the Caspian Sea.
New times and the winds of change have brought other needs and other interests to a vast country. The once unique developments are mothballed and will no longer be able to stretch their wings on the smooth surface of the Caspian and other seas ... but in other matters, let's wait and see!