Ekranoplan cargo lifter

Another WIP that was sparked by the shape of the Braun ear thermometer. That shape really bugged me begging to be made into something. So, her is an ekranoplan based on that shape.

I’m not really sure in which direction this is going to go. Currently the idea is to model the ekranoplan as far as I have patience for, then construct the hangar, and make the whole thing look like launch day, with tractors pulling the ekranoplan out of the hangar. Perhaps at night time; loads of opportunities for dramatic lighting, and lasers (if anyone can tell me how to do those).

There is no scale in the image at the moment, but the vehicle is huge, almost 100m long.


The Braun ear thermometer! That is too funny. I’m so glad I’m not the only one with so much free time in the bathroom - my razors are waiting to become spaceships some day. Take some wing and stabilizer cues from the Hercules C-130 and the C-5 Galaxy. Mammoths.

We don’t keep the thermometer in the bathroom, since the house is full of kids. My baby brought it to me the other day and pointed to his ear. So I stuck it in, pressed the button and he did not have fever. Later that evening he did, though, so he’s figured out exactly what the thermometer is for.

Since this is an ekranoplan, the wings are going to be very stubby.

It is strange where inspiration comes from. I see some old Russian airplane in there as well. They did a plane similar to this in the 60s. I’ve only ever seen broken images on google…I’d love to see the full ting in action. I bet it was spectacular. This is a great model. I hope you are still developing it.

I still have this as one of my WIPs. It’s a matter of finding some spare time to do these. I hate doing a rush job, so every time I add geometry I tend to spend ages mulling over every decision, and tweaking it endlessly. This is a terrible habit, but I hate to do it any differently.

I am taking a slightly different tack on this then was originally intended, hence the factory building. Just some test rendering, but I’m posting it so anyone who likes this model can see it is still a live WIP (albeit a very slow moving one).

The man is there for scale. The walls might spread out a little. A crane is needed as well, and a whole load of scaffolding etc.

Looking very cool! Loving the hangar pic, that will allow for plenty of cool lighting ideas :smiley:

Lol, i doubt this thing can fly :stuck_out_tongue:
The weight of the engines would make the top wing sag down, if not break it.
short wings - not enough wing loading either to even lift the thing

Suggest revising the design to have much bigger wings and “smarter” engine placement

The shape does look pretty neat though, and modeling looks clean :slight_smile:

Vicky - you are so right; the hangar was love at first render.

It’s an ekranoplan, not an airplane, so stubby wings are the order of the day. Don’t worry about the engines falling off, there is a lot of metal holding them in place!

With an ekranoplan, you want the engines further forward than is usual, presumably in order to avoid too much water ingestion, and to lift the front off the water as early as possible.

Wow! This is very cool. Ekranoplanes are indeed fascinating.

I’ll second this notion.

This is a very interesting creation indeed.

I also love the factory idea. You’ll have a ton of extras in there that could be a lot of fun.

Continued luck with this one. She is coming right along.

I’m, glad y’all like this thing. My idea at the moment is to make the whole thing an abandoned project that a few blokes tinker with over the weekend.

Good idea! Maybe take it further and make it look abandoned like it’s has slumbered in it’s hangar couple of decades without anyone knowing it’s there. Dust, rust and maybe some vegetation. I think that would look cool and so very mysterious. Do as you like! I definitely look up to this!

IconW, that’s roughly what I had in mind.

Wow! Sweet looking model, and idea. I, like DDD, didn’t even know this sort of thing existed. I guess it helps to crawl out from under my rock every now and then and take a look around! Looking forward to seeing how this goes.

Well, interesting as they are, they are by and large a useless technology, since they have so many drawbacks. For starters, they can only take off in the wind. Now imagine one of these barrelling across the water at 200mph and suddenly they notice a small boat ahead. They would have a matter of s few seconds to to take evasive action.

I doubt these can travel across heavy seas, and would probably have serious trouble in stormy weather.

All in all, they are very restricted which makes them less than entirely practical. Which is a shame, since they fill the wide gap between surface shipping and air cargo.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7638659.stm Somewhere along these i read that 100m long Caspian Sea Monster was designed for 3 to 5 m flights but it showed best characteristics at 20 m flight above water. That is hefty storm needed to cancel operations i think. As to the wind - it needed to launch against the wind; there is nothing said that wind was a major factor to launch it.
Worst (drawback) was the waves hitting the hull during the take-off; same concerns ocean speed boats now afaik.
And i seriously doubt that some C-5 Galaxy or Ruslan can take fast enough evasive actions against some careless fly guy’s small scale airplane (in case if only visual is left for a cargo pilot) ;).

Post #6 first image is impressive. Thermometer… lol.
GL with your project! Will follow along with great interest.

eppo, you have a point there. Check out this section in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekranoplan#Advantages_and_disadvantages They are still quite limited. There is a company producing ekranoplans, here: http://www.attk-invest.com/ I wish them luck, since they are tackling niche problems.

Dodging a small aircraft is not really an issue since there are flight paths, jetways and ATC designed to avoid this. The same does not apply on water, where traffic control is minimal even where it exists.

I like the hangar/factory thing a lot, and it seems that everyone feels that way as well. I might expand it sideways and upwards a little, as I have not left enough clearance for a gantry crane and other possibilities. I hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew with this project.

How’d you make the factory/warehouse? Tell us, please!

And concerning the cargo plane, whilst it may work in 3d as fantasy, the aerodynamics of that thing in real life are impossible.

Consider moving some engines back or it’s gonna drop out of the sky like a nuke. :smiley:


The warehouse is simply arrays of arrays. It’s nowhere near anything final. I just put in place to get a feel for the concept.

Regarding the aerodynamics, the original Lun ekranoplan series as developed by the Soviet Union had their engines right at the front, and surprisingly enough did not “drop out of the sky”. Nor do single engined aircraft that have their engine even further forward. Even modern ekranos have their engines right at the front.

Presumably the thinking is to get the engines to lift the nose out of the water at take-off.

These aircraft are designed to fly at very low levels, floating on a ground effect cushion.