APR 17, 2018 06:00 AM PDT

Ground Effect and The Caspian Sea Monster

In aerodynamics, ground effect refers to the lifting force under the wing of an aircraft in proximity to the ground.  It plays a big part in the landing and takeoff.

For fixed-wing planes, ground effect is the result of a reduction in the amount of induced drag - a function of the lift generated at the tip of a wing. When the craft is traveling close to the ground, air vortices become elliptical as the airflow is pushed outwards.

A ground-effect vehicle (GEV) takes advantage of the namesake effect to sustain flight over a level surface, often over a body of water. Among the best known is the Soviet Ekranoplan, also known as the Caspian Sea Monster.

Although they may look like seaplanes, ground-effect vehicles are not supposed to fly out of ground effect. They are sometimes characterized as a transition between a hovercraft and an aircraft.

They possess obvious advantages over some traditional transportation means. Given the similar size and capacity, a GEV has better fuel efficiency than an airplane. A GEV also is much faster than a surface vessel because it travels without touching the water, except during takeoff and landing.

However, due to the lack of control over altitude, GEVs can only move horizontally to avoid a collision. And they have a higher risk of damage when coming into direct contact with other vessels and objects, because of their aircraft-like body construction. In traveling during high winds, GEVs often get the heavy pounding by waves, which causes significant wear-and-tear on the craft and discomfort in passengers.

Source: Curious Droid via Youtube

About the Author
  • With years of experience in biomedical R & D, Daniel is also very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles.
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