Mar 8, 2010

It's a boat! It's a plane!? ...

The Russians have come up with some interesting (if not always practical) "aircraft"! This is an aircraft that actually operates as a ship, flying in "ground effect." You can read about here: Lun-class ekranoplan. Don't miss the image link at the end of that article - or click it here. I can't read Russian, but the photos speak for themselves!


Frank Van Haste said...


Very interesting. In a prior life I spent 10 yrs working in a shipyard, and those photos made me feel right at home :-)

Just what you'd expect if you told a shipbuilder to go build an airplane!

I suspect that if these machines had gone operational they'd have had problems maneuvering in real sea states.

Thanks for the interesting link.



siouxpilot said...

Looks ridiculously heavy! Of course the effects of reduced drag from ground effect would help with that.

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Aluwings said...

I think you both make a good point - this was probably built by ship designers who wanted it to withstand the beating it would take on the water. But as you say Frank, what kind of waves and wind could it handle? There's a clue to it's lack of maneuverability in the fact that it takes so many engines (and how much fuel??) to haul it around. As Mr. Spock might say: "Fascinating."

Sarah said...

That is one monstrous .... um ... airplane! It makes some sense on an inland sea - perhaps smaller waves & weather - but I wonder what would happen in rough seas.

From the title of the post, I thought you were going to talk about more of a Gyro Gearloose invention. This one looks one wing-dip from disaster most of the time.

Aluwings said...

Thanks Sarah for that link. Cool! I want one! But I can imagine the mayhem on a popular lake if a dozen of those things were flying around - yikes...

Rhonda said...

Sometimes I wish this critter had been built.

Imagine the comfort of an airplane with tennis courts and gyms and restaurants...

Aluwings said...

Rhonda, that's incredible isn't it! I wonder if it inspired Gene Roddenberry (sp?) when he made the USS Enterprise for Star Trek...?

Rhonda said...

Maybe. The Enterprise certainly blasts away all the common issues of flight and spaceflight (and ships and submarines) having little space.

Of course, they also have magic tech engines that don't seem to mind pushing all that extra mass around, and from an asymmetric position, too.

Aluwings said...

I always enjoy the episodes where they separate the command (battle) ship from the crew (living) portions. But they do that so rarely. Usually they'd just blast on in, guns-a-blazing, with all the living quarters attached.

Have you seen the parody of Star Trek - Galaxy Quest? Great humour.

Aviatrix said...

I read Russian. Here are the specs from the text accompanying the photographs. It promises to be part one of a three or four part series.

Wingspan: 44.00 m
Length: 73.80 m
Height: 19.20 m
Wing Area: 550.00 sq.m.
Weight in kg
Empty: 243,000
Max. Takeoff: 380,000
Type designation: 8 TRD NK-87
Max speed: 500 km/h
Practical range: 2000 km
Height above surface: 1-5 m
Crew: 10 persons

I don't know what defines "practical range."

Aluwings said...

Aviatrix reads Russian - why would we be surprised? That's cool.

The thought of 380,000 kgs of anything, moving at 500 kph a couple meters off the water terrifies me!

I think we have the makings of a space/sci-fi/post-apocalyptic movie in there somewhere. With Kevin Costner and or Mel Gibson of course.

Aviatrix said...

Detailed interior photos here.

Sarah said...

Thanks, Aviatrix, for the translation AND the cockpit photos. Of course, I was wondering what it looked like ... and, just as I guessed, that odd color of green you seen in soviet aircraft was everywhere. Fugly. ( I prefer Boeing beige. )

Interesting primary flight instruments. Looks like fine control of bank and angle of attack was important.