In the Year 2000: Gargantuan, Trans-Oceanic Ground Effect Wingship


Image: Popular Science

I had already planned on talking about "ground effect" vehicles at some point, when Avi Abrams dropped this doozy—a gorgeous painting of an unlikely Soviet hydroplane that looks like a water-skiing oil derrick—on our new "In the Year 2000" Flickr group. (A Boing Boing Gadgets and Paleo-Future Production.) Then that picture was linked back to this comprehensive post on Dark Roasted Blend about ground effect vehicles, where I saw this prototype painting that first appeared in Popular Science in 1984.

Something about seeing the American Airlines livery on a massive, ocean-gliding, swept-wing Spruce Goose-a-like just tickles me. Do want.

Ekranoplans Showcase []

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  1. I only hope the previous commenter knows what the Simpsons were referencing in the first place.

  2. It seems like the passenger cabins would be horribly noisy with the engine-pods mounted forward and close to the fuselage like that.

  3. The nosie-engines on the real ekranoplan are only run during takeoff; they provide extra lift partly by blowing air over the top surface of the wing. Presumably, on this conceptual design only the outermost engines would keep running once the beast was off the water and into ground effect.

  4. I like the little teeny (and slower) helicopter which is about to be sucked down into the vortex of the passing avian leviathan. I expect that chopper to crash into the sea within eight seconds after the moment of this picture.

    -John the Anonymous

  5. Um, poster #1, you must be a young’n. The “Spruce Goose” is the nickname of the Hughes H-4 Hercules, a flying boat built during WWII. The Simpsons where making a play on it.

  6. Ekranoplans are the new jet-pack! (Or something, I’m not sure. I’ve been intrigued by them ever since seeing a Discovery-channel show on them, must have been a decade ago, but they seem to be popping up all over lately.)

    There’s a company now selling a small ekranoplan fanboat (google “hoverwing”), can go over water or paved land. Unfortunately I think the waves in my local waterways would be too much for it. But on a lake or something…

  7. It was the “Spruce Moose” that Monty Burns once owned (on The Simpsons), a play on the “Spruce Goose”.

  8. I like the idea of flying very low to the surface of the earth. It makes me feel safer, even though I’m sure it’s much more dangerous than being higher up.

  9. Since it’s American Airlines I’m sure that everyone on this ‘futurific’ flight is uncomfortable, late and hungry.

  10. #13 – As i understand it, tsunamis look like unusually flat water out in the open ocean. Since it is effectively a wave that is 10’s or hundreds of feet tall, the main effect is that normal wave action would be supressed a bit (though wind driven surface waves would still exist). When you run out of deep water at the shore, all that co-ordinated water starts to pile up, and you get a wall of water that makes with the heavy duty devistation.

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