From the gCaptain Archive: World’s Fastest Ship OR Largest Plane? Thrilling Wonder brings us the story of The Caspian Sea Monster. Built during the cold war this Russian plane hovered over the water at speeds exceeding 200 knots.
They hover and skim above the water surface at speeds of up to 250 miles an hour, they carry heavier loads of cargo and troops than any airplane – the Ekranoplans, or “Wing-in-Ground” (WIG) vehicles are possibly the most exciting and strange looking technology ever designed by men.
Developed mostly by Soviets during Cold Wars years (by Rostislav Alexeev’s design firm) some of them were over 500 feet in length and had an estimated weight of over 500 tons! And yet they skimmed over the waves with grace, at high speeds, able to negotiate stormy conditions, unseen by radar – all thanks to an aerodynamic principle known as the “ground effect”. Dark Roasted Blend: Ekranoplans Showcase
For those interested here’s the video:
UPDATE: We just got around to reading the Spring 2007 of the Coast Guard’s Proceedings magazine and read the following interesting article on the resurgance of Wing In Ground ( WIG ) aircraft among entrepeneurs and hobbiests. The Article can be downloaded here: Is it a Ship, a Plane, or a WIG?
The USCG also has a web page devoted to regulating the craft: LINK
If your looking for future information subscribe to the Coast Guard’s WIG email list: LINK