About: the Caspian Sea Monster

Ekranoplan Thumbnail image 
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(Caspian Sea Monster)

   Largest Russian wing-in-ground-effect machine (WIG) was designated the 'Caspian Sea Monster' by western aviation experts during the first part of the Cold War. The giant Ekranoplan (Russian name for WIG craft) with a length close to 92m (300ft) was first observed in the mid to late 60s.

          WIG craft operate most efficiently when 'flying' at a height equal to half their wingspan, or lower.  (Some have theorized that some large and very heavy flying boats operated in early Twentith Century, such as the Dornier twelve-engined Do X, owed the success of their long range performance while equipped with relatively low-powered engines to their pilots exploying
wing-in-ground-effect by spending a portion of the flying over ocean at low-altitude.)

   A normal aircraft carries about 4kg per hp of engine rating. WIGes operating in their optimum height-above-surface achieve up to 20kg per hp; an improvement of load to power ratio of more than 400% compared with conventional aircraft. Smaller versions (Ekranolets-) carrying from 1 to 4 people have been operated using motorcycle engines for power. (Remember, these are engines from 1960s Russian, or Ukrainian, motorcycles with power in the range of 32 h.p).

   The 'Caspian' is capable of carrying 800-900 troops at a height of 7-14m (23-43ft) and at a speed of 300 knots.

   MY proposal is that civil WIG Liners should be built and operated for cross-sea travel. Compared to everyday Airline operation, the ticket costs can be much, much, lower! A Caspian-sized WIG Liner could carry 300-450 passengers with room to move around as was found in pre-war flying boats, airships of the 1930's, and which is still possible in long distance passenger train travel.

THIS mode of travel should fill in the gap between cruise ships and airline travel in our present day era.

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