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An ekranoplan (Russian name 'зкраноплан') is a type of surface-effect vehicle resembling an aircraft. It is also known as "wing-in-ground-effect".

The important design principle is that the wing lift reduces the further above the surface (land or sea) the ekranoplan "flies" (see ground effect). Thus it is dynamically stable in the vertical dimension.

These craft were originally developed by the Soviet Union as very high-speed (several hundred km/hour) military transports, and were mostly based on the shores of the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. The largest could transport over 100 tonnes of cargo.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, commercial development has occurred mostly in the United States.

External links

  • WIG boats (http://www.se-technology.com/wig/) - application of Wing-In-Ground effect
  • [1] (http://aquaglide.ru/history_e.htm) - A short overview of Soviet ekranoplan creation and development
  • [2] (http://www.att-nn.com/ENGL/85yaers.htm) - Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeev. An outstanding designer of highspeed ships

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