[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RZnheafoaY[/youtube]

Ekranoplan – sometimes referred to as the Caspian Sea Monsters

A private company, ATTK, (Arctic Trade and Transport Company), is producing Ekranoplans in the very same shipyards where the first prototypes were designed, built and tested. But these civilian heirs to the Caspian Sea Monsters are altogether smaller and more pocket-sized affairs, designed to be used as personal craft or water taxis.

The Aquaglide is a compact 5 seat, 10m craft with a cruising speed of 170km/h. Unlike its jet-powered forebears, it’s powered by a Mercedes car engine, but the engines still sit in front of its short stubby wings. Two variable pitch propellers can push air under the wings and help develop the cushion that allows the craft to become airborne. And like their heftier siblings they are capable of flying over water, ice, or land.

Part of the problem with the development of Ekranoplans, has been their classification for matters of legislation and licensing. Were these aircraft or ships? The matter was only resolved as late as 2005 by the International Maritime Organisation who deemed that Ekranoplans were, in fact, “high flying ships”.

Via The BBC

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