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Ekranoplan: the plane with the greatest lift of any aircraft

With a whopping 1,000 tons of lift, the Ekranoplan is among the most extreme airplanes ever built. It flew at about 300 MPH mere feet above the waterline.

Full story at Extreme World and Engineering.

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  • But, can it fly out of ground effect? Jon

  • stanwhittier

    ground effect.
    very different than building a machine that is capable of flying at altitude

  • stanwhittier

    Ground effect

    Very different from building a machine that can fly at altitude

  • It wasn’t built to fly out of ground effect. The idea behind it is to move a large force of men and equipment where needed and very quickly.

    Besides, this particular one is no longer in use which makes for an odd story. Must be an exxxxxxxxxtremely ssslllooowwww news day.

  • Just one more Utopia: a flock of birds can end the flight at any moment. And there is no time for countermeasure – surface is in a few milliseconds.

  • Jim

    Sure would be nice if they actually gave some information.

  • And Poroshenko himself is still alive?? Sad!

  • Russian came up and tested it in 1972

  • 8 engines and what is the fuel consumption? It’s as different now as the 12 engine DoX was in 1929.

  • The problem is that the device itself will spew communist propaganda from its exhaust ports. Say for instance, capitalism. Okay, you just admitted that you’re going to build a gigantic airplane and use it for the destruction of innocent school children. You need to be locked up. You’re sick.

  • This is a ground effects aircraft. That is how it gets the heavy lift capability. Not sure it this is feasible as a general use transport aircraft, since it needs a water landing, and takeoff.

  • The point of the Wing in Ground effect plane (WiG) was partly to fly under the radar and potentially threaten aircraft carriers. And yes, for short hops (like climbing over a fishing boat) it could flare and use its forward momentum to climb out of ground effect, then get a few hundred feet in altitude, but it had to arc back down into ground effect. This plane so unnerved the Pentagon at the time, that airborne radar systems (i.e. the precursor to the AWAC) were rushed into production. They were eventually obsoleted by polar orbiting satellites, which could spot them fairly easily.

    But yes, SLOW news day. These aren’t news, they’re history.

  • J mariani

    the wings are so stubby that it couldn’t clear big waves and stay in ground effect.

  • Chuck

    The plane is using ground effect lift.

  • No way. The A380 has a gtow of over 600 tons & can obviously fly out of GE…and twice as fast.

  • Not only that but very inefficient fuel use in ground effect trading increased life with heavy fuel consumption. This is not to even mention weather enroute which jets fly over and heavy sea states. Very impractical…

  • Comrade Intellectuals! Bitter NY cableTV Seeker-Of-Truth Ugly George is having the KGB nail you to the Kremlin Wall so you can be SHOT for your TOTAL IGNORANCE of Commie Politics Vs. Hapless Russian aircraft designers. From 1910 and Sikorsky’s “Grand” (you Clods know nothing of the Czar’s favor), thru the vicious Stalin Era up to Putin, Rus. designers lived ONLY when favored by The Head; usually having little to do with the success or failure of their designs. I am having Clueless Jerry Gray face the new Me109s in Spain in plodding Polikarpov bipes (next, the Finns in 39-40). I am also ordering him to slide off the wing of plodding Antonovs with his parachute and NOT hit the tail & be instantly killed. Kaw obviously doesn’t know just how many designers were EXECUTED by Stalin when the Supreme Leader’s tactics failed miserably in Barbarossa-the designers were to blame (natch). Lastly, this Ekranoplane eventually fell out of favor with comrade Brezhnev; times had changed since Stalin & he wasn’t shot-just defunded, kicked out & never designed again…BTW, just WHICH Caspian-region “republics” was this turkey designed to INVADE?

  • nNark

    Ugh Clickbait. THis is an OLD story, and it’s NOT an airplane, but a jet-powered boat! I really hate websites, sometimes.

  • As was mentioned…easily spotted by satellites…and it would be extremely vulnerable to counter measures like a smart missile.

  • It’s not a Plane per se , it can’t “fly” out of ground effect … about 15 feet off the surface …

  • Not really a plane

  • Divorced1

    Designer: Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeyev. Following the crash of one A-90 Orlyonok during testing, Soviet military heads used the incident as an excuse to remove Alexeyev as chief designer. He spent the rest of his life away from scientific work, concentrating mostly on sports. He died in 1980.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, the details of Alexeyev’s work became known to the public and generated a lot of interest from around the world. He is now generally considered as the father of ground effect vehicle design.

  • aurel ionescu

    Why is it better than a 1000 ton fast ship ? also it’s vulnerable to the first rogue 10 ft wave.

  • Russia is planning to resume building this guys towards 2025 as carrier killers as main target….

  • Russia is planning to resume building this aircraft towards 2025 as carrier killers….

  • Thomas Heer

    This was a propaganda machine from the get go. From what we could derive is that it would work in very specific applications ONLY. Had to have a very smooth surface to fly over as it employed ground effects and it’s maximum operational ceiling was something under 15′. If you have ever been to sea you can see that this made it impossible to operate in anything but moderate or better weather conditions. Another thing discovered was that it took ungodly ground support to keep it operational literally in man hours and expenses in repair would have been impossible to field. This was basically a exercise in what can be done if we put our mind to it.

    Actually I was impressed with the then USSR for being able to build and fly something like this. But it was obvious to even the most casual observer that it was not practical to field at that time. Now if they revisited the concept I bet they could make it work.

  • These are not airplanes they are as others have said only able to fly in ground effect that is riding on a pressure build up beneath the aircraft that cannot escape from beneath it due to
    it’s speed! They were only used in and around Russia on very large lakes and inland seas
    like the Black, Caspian, Balkhash and Aral. And they used fuel like no tomorrow! And the stopping distance in case of emergency was beyond imagination!

  • Paul Dolan

    It was from the 50/60’s when the US and USSR were trying to find a seaplane (nuclear capable) to roam the Black and Med Seas. The designer was fired for it’s inefficiency

  • Bill Sears

    Reminiscent of the Hydoski!

  • The salt water is so good for jet engines! Just cleans them out. …. Right?

  • The idea of a flying boat was around in the Red Army for long time. Kreushchev ordered the prototype to be built by Alexejev’s design. The goal was to deliver large number of fully equiped troops with all their combat gears to a great distance across the oceans. It could fly at altitude of 50 feet above water. The main goal was to move fast like planes, not as ships, and be hard to detact. Great idea for surprised military invasion at great distances. But the world has changed faster than tecjnology advanced. Just wonder, will the Pentagon catch up on the idea, for the Marines ?

  • It was extreemely fuel efficient as needed no lift to high altitudes. Just sliding above the water. The idea grew out of the hydrofoil. But wonder, how come the Soviets thought of building this ? We all know what the goal was to transport hundreds of fully armed soldiers with all thier heavy equipments in a single flying boat over continents,that was difficult to detect by Naval vessels on high seas.

  • Problem was the A/C could not gain above ground effect. It required the surface to provide the required air density pressure against the wings to attain lift. Max altitude achieved was 14′. At least Russia was smart enough to realize you need to gain at least 130′ to prevent engine compressor failure due water induction in heavy seas.

  • High seas will destroy this somewhat useless machine.

  • Bryan Brewer

    Unless it has a cloaking device, our weapon systems can knock out a 300 mph target.

  • James Campbell

    Maybe they could adapt it to be a space plane like the zero x

  • GringoGaijin

    Looks great when used on a lake, but what happens when you hit a 10ft wave at 300mph?? Mildly rough seas and the plane is worthelss…..

  • Why is there a wire guard on just one Engine?


  • Edgar

    Just an ordinary motorboat with a jet engine. a surf with a paddle is the usual old russian engineering!7B

  • With all those engines I bet it’s a horrible gas hog

  • I can imagine one of those wing tips dipping into the water with the thing so close to the ground. Cool idea though.

  • Jimmy

    I like the Idea but what if a large wave hit it while it’s going 300 miles an hour?

  • JoeyB

    People tend to think of this thing the wrong way. It’s not a plane. It’s more like a ship. A ship that can move 300 mph. Imagine a group of them being used to move a expeditionary combat force. I think they are amazing.