Ekranoplan KM – The Caspian Sea Monster
Russian aircraft designers always stood out for their creativity, and created exceptional machines using solutions that seemed impossible for Western designers back in the day. One of the most bizarre concepts ever created by the Russians was the Ekranoplan: an experimental ground effect aircraft – if you can actually call it that – that flies close to the ground so it can rely on the ground effect. The concept itself was already well known in theory, but leave it to the Russians to make a crazy idea a reality.
In the 1950’s, the Russian engineer Alexeyev Evgenievich Rostislav designed a machine that had very short wings, which allowed it to fly at a very low height – from 30 cm to 3 meters at most – taking advantage of the ground effect, which creates an “air cushion” between the wings and the ground, improving the aircraft’s lift-to-drag ratio.