Over the years, many new developments have taken place in this particular strand of aviation, both in Russia and in other countries. New projects have emerged; some of them have been built and tested in prototype form, while others represent prospective studies awaiting their implementation. This brilliant book examines many of these new projects, as well as revealing new information of historical character that has become available in the recent years. Beginning with a brief outline of the basic concept of wing-in-ground effect (WIG) vehicles or ekranoplans, further chapters provide a short review of the development of this concept from theory to viable technical solutions. This section of the book also gives a historical survey of the development of WIG research and construction in Russia (the Soviet Union) on the background of the country's industrial and political development. Problems associated with the incorporation of WIG vehicles into the existing system of world transport are also be dealt with at some length. A large part of the book focuses upon the type-by-type description of specific designs of ekranoplans developed in the Soviet Union and present-day Russia in the course of half a century. Special emphasis is put upon the activities of Rostislav Alekseyev, who has played an enormous role in the development of this new technology. WIG vehicles created by the Alekseyev-led design bureau include the KM-1, dubbed the 'Caspian Monster', the Orlyonok and the Loon' ekranoplans which remain unsurpassed to this day in terms of size and payload. Other special chapters deal with ekranoplans developed in several other major design bureaux, notably those led by Sukhoi, Bartini and Beriyev. Research into WIG vehicle technology was pursued in the Soviet Union both by well-established scientific institutions and by enthusiasts, especially within aeronautical colleges by members of the so-called student design bureaux. This had produced a large number of projects and real prototypes. As distinct from the progeny of the 'big' design bureaux, the machines created by enthusiasts were modest in size, often in the category of ultra-light aircraft. These designs are also described individually. Finally, economic and political transformations following the break-up of the Soviet Union led to the emergence of privately owned design bureaux engaged in the design of aircraft and, in some cases, of ekranoplans. It is these firms that are pursuing the development of WIG craft in Russia now, given the apparent lack of interest on the part of the military and the State to this branch of transport technology. Packed with a variety of artwork and drawings, there will also be detailed descriptions of rare designs developed by private firms. Other highlights include examples of similar technology developed in other countries of the world including USA, Germany, China. This is the definitive volume on the subject and will be eagerly awaited by aviation enthusiasts worldwide.
Yefim Gordon is arguably the world's leading Russian aviation researcher. Born in 1950 in Vilnius, Lithuania, he graduated from the Kaunas Polytechnical Institute in 1972 as an engineerelectronics designer. He has been a resident of Moscow since 1973, when, as a hobby, he started collecting photographs and books on the history of Soviet aviation; this has now developed into a major archive. Since the 1980s he has been a professional aviation journalist and writer, with over 50 books published on SovietRussian aviation in Russian, English, Polish and Czech, as well as close to 100 magazine features and photo reports. He is also an accomplished photographer, with countless photos published in the Western press; the current edition of Jane's All the World's Aircraft features more than 50 of his photographs.