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Ground Effect Vehicles

Article #172 • Written by Greg Bjerg

Boeing Pelican
Boeing Pelican

A concept aircraft currently under development at Boeing’s Phantom Works Research and Development unit might be the largest airplane to ever fly, but it won’t set any altitude records. Its called the Pelican and it would have a normal cruising altitude of only twenty feet because it uses the concept of ground effect to achieve lift.

Performance specifications say this ground effect vehicle (GEV) will have a wingspan of 150 meters and be able to carry up to 1,400 tons of cargo. By comparison the current giant of the skies, the Russian An-225, has an 88.4-meter wingspan and can lift 250 tons.

Because the plane skims the surface during flight, it is only practical over large, smooth bodies of water. Flying close to the water, the wing’s downwash angle and tip vortices are suppressed, resulting in a greatly reduced drag which leads to outstanding cruise efficiency. This would translate into a range of 10,000 nautical miles in trans-oceanic flight. Operating from paved runways, the plane has thirty-eight fuselage-mounted landing gears with seventy-six tires to distribute the weight.

The Pelican is designed to be a hybrid GEV, allowing it to also fly at higher altitudes up to 20,000 feet. But the range would be greatly reduced to 6,500 nautical miles when not using the ground effect.

While the Pelican is yet to become a prototype the concept is hardly a new one. For decades the Russians have experimented with aircraft they called WIG (Wing In Ground-effect) planes. A WIG craft, like the Pelican, sits on a cushion of air created by aerodynamics rather than by an engine.

Orlyonok A90
Orlyonok A90

This means that it can only fly when the WIG craft has sufficient forward speed. This is called a dynamic air cushion as opposed to the hovercraft's static air cushion.

The Soviets had great plans for these planes. Just like Boeing’s Pelican they discovered the high efficiency of ground-effect craft. The only difference from the Russian WIGs and the Pelican is that the Soviet craft did not have the ability to fly higher than 20 feet. They would be restricted to use over large bodies of water.

Two WIG planes are especially interesting. The Orlyonok A90 is a large WIG prototype with one huge turboprop mounted high at the tail fin for cruise thrust and two turbofans for takeoff, acceleration, and landing. Two hydro skis are mounted at the underside of the fuselage, one in the front, and another at the center of gravity.

Designed in 1974, the original plans were to build 120 Orlyonoks as troop transport and assault vehicles, but only four were built-- one of which has been used for static tests only. But the WIG craft had a troubled service history; the first Orlyonok crashed during a VIP demo flight in 1975. In October 1979 the Orlyonok entered service in the Soviet Navy, where one was lost in a crash in 1992. Unfortunately the crew didn't survive the accident. The last flight of the Orlyonok took place in October 1993, and currently the remains of the last Orlyonoks are rusting and falling apart at their base.

There have been plans to modify one of the surviving Orlyonoks as a transport, carrying up to 150 passengers in a single deck layout or up to 350 passengers in a twin deck layout. A cargo version of the craft was planned to have a payload of thirty tons.

Lun
Lun

The Soviets also started a WIG warship program called the Lun in 1970, but assembly of the first Lun did not start until 1983. In July 1986 it was launched into the Volga River. During Spring 1987 sea trials commenced on the Caspian Sea.

The first Lun was designed and built as a missile launching strike craft primarily for anti-submarine tasks. It carried 6 missile tubes for this mission, and had a top speed of 500 kilometers per hour. The second Lun was under construction during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the project was abandoned. In 1997 Russian television showed the Lun half sunk in the water at Kaspiisk Naval Air Base.

The Russians built a whole range of WIG aircraft ranging from eight-engine monsters to small pleasure craft. Today in the United States and Europe there are several homemade ground-effect planes usually seating no more than four passengers.

If Boeing's enormous Pelican ever flies, it won't be until the end of the decade at the soonest.

Article written by Greg Bjerg, published on 27 April 2006. Greg was born and raised in Iowa and graduated with a degree in Journalism from Drake University. Sadly, he passed away on 20 March 2011.

Article design by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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56 Comments
knightrider
Posted 27 April 2006 at 03:41 pm

Why do these use props rather than jets? (or a combination)


wileybot
Posted 27 April 2006 at 04:19 pm

Curious, how do these perform over rough or heavy swell seas?


Sapient
Posted 27 April 2006 at 04:20 pm

Damn the Russians build some ugly aircraft!


vBJun2DG
Posted 27 April 2006 at 04:22 pm

The use props instead of jets because props are more efficient at low Mach numbers (under Mach 0.5 or something), and most jets are designed to be efficient at high altitudes where the air is less dense and where the temperature is colder.

Also, these types of crafts tend to have trouble in stormy seas, but the increase in efficiency on a calm sea is humongous!


Pascal Leduc
Posted 27 April 2006 at 04:35 pm

Props are far more effecient on a trust per kilo of fuel basis. Jet engines win out on pure power per size (or even weight of engine) but burns fuel beyond all comparisons (it takes a gallon just to start the jet engine powered M1A2 american main battle tank.

The Russian cold war intercontinental bomber used props also (each engine spinning two props, one in the opposite direction (but with inversed helix so that trust went in the same direction:)) Very very effecient, but unfortunatly soo noisy it could be tracked by the american anti-sub network.


Mark
Posted 27 April 2006 at 05:13 pm

There's no way you'd get me in one of those, they just don't look safe. I mean what if a sudden wave smashed into it or something. No way, horrifying.

Bonus points for efficiency though.


SparkyTWP
Posted 27 April 2006 at 07:16 pm

Yeah, I'd buy one.


kwiksand
Posted 27 April 2006 at 07:35 pm

I wonder how quickly/safely they can jump between skimming and flying? Could they simply ascend if they were coming into rough/uncertain sea?


Floj
Posted 27 April 2006 at 09:47 pm

Woa, Imagine all the pie that it could carry! We could supply the world with masses of all types! 1400 tons = 2800000 lbs = aprox. 1400000 pies!!!! sweet! and a pun!


dJCL
Posted 27 April 2006 at 10:49 pm

mmmmm.... pie....


Prince
Posted 27 April 2006 at 11:11 pm

i dont suppose anybody has been in one, but are those things loud or not?

Also, Floj, i think you need to see a good shrink.


Berkana
Posted 28 April 2006 at 12:24 am

This is the next logical step in the development of hydrofoil ships. Hydrofoil ships are more efficient because of the reduced drag resulting from lifting the hull out of the water; the ground effect flying boat is just the same concept, but lifting from above rather than from below.

If cargo ships end up going to ground effect in a major way to save on fuel and to speed up shipping, our already small world will seem even smaller.


lp
Posted 28 April 2006 at 06:25 am

wileybot said: "Curious, how do these perform over rough or heavy swell seas?"

That was my first thought. The seas can have huge swells without being stormy and I can't imagine the ocean being flat/calm out in the middle of nowhere. They'd have to have a way to navigate around these areas. If the heavy swells are generally located in the same area then they could probably just mark these areas on maps and plan routes around them?


another viewpoint
Posted 28 April 2006 at 06:26 am

Okay I'll bite...how many days during the course of a year is the ocean "flat" enough to fly over?

Russian Lun...for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction...so what happens to the rearward forces on a low speed flying aircraft when a missile is launched? Does the missle just fall on top of the plane?

Like the man said...sure was ugly.


sbn56
Posted 28 April 2006 at 08:14 am

As far as rough seas are concerned, my previous flight training informed me that ground effect exists to an altitude of roughly double the wingspan of whatever's flying in it - from experience I can state that this is about accurate, although the effect diminishes as altitude increases. As far as efficiency is concerned, a lowly Cessna uses a great deal of power to stay aloft at 12,000 feet, but will continue flying at barely above engine idle at 20 feet. Throw a high efficiency airfoil and some economies of scale at that problem, and we've got a concept.


kakarot
Posted 28 April 2006 at 08:56 am

okey, first of all, Rusians have that type of a plain. Nick name "Shark" becouse when it flies from the shore, it looks like a shark. They mostly used by military, becouse it can run very low and bypass a radar.

that ship/plain has like 8 small engines.
it flies like 100 feet above the water, but when needed it flies like -20 feet, thats right below the water. (meaured from the lowest point of the plain).
I dont remember exact, but it goes like 1 mach or so.
But lets remember, Rusians dont have money, so their plains are siting without flying. So lets guess who will take the idae and update.
The plain uses the down thrust to push on the water, and water then pushies back and keeps the plain up.
If you saw it fly, you would see like a mozes spliting the water in front. Its really cool.
I have no idea on how much it can carry or how long it can go.

Rusians made a true Undetactable Air Plain/Ship. It can go undetected, but can be detacted by sound. But it flies just above the speed of sound, so good luck on destroying one.

PS.: The reason that there is no Jets there, is becouse safty. The propeler spins at freaking fast speed, and when a drop of fater can sand paper regular wood propeler, it can destroy all of the engine in a sec in a jet [small disbalance]. And ye, eficiency plays a big rool.


Carcer
Posted 28 April 2006 at 09:13 am

Did the article mention the cruising speed of these things? Efficiancy of power is great and all, but not much pratical use if they're no faster than our current ocean liners. I imagine they'd be much quicker though anyway.


Everyone
Posted 28 April 2006 at 09:43 am

Prince said: "i dont suppose anybody has been in one, but are those things loud or not?


Also, Floj, i think you need to see a good shrink."

You insult the Floj!? The Floj is amazing! j/k and I like pie too.


schuylercat
Posted 28 April 2006 at 10:00 am

My dad used to work in "aerospace" back in the 60's and 70's, and I remember talking to him about these. I remember the talk about efficiency of propellers versus jets, they were pretty fast (the article said 500 kph, 270 knots, certainly faster than QE2), and the relative safety of the overall platform. I'm thinking missile launches for instance: on that big ugly russian thing the missile would bust out of a casing with a separation motor that pops it up into the air, then a big'un would kick in which might push the plane downward a bit, but the boundary layer below the plane would simply compress a bit more, the water would squash out a bit more, and that's that. Since the Bernoulli effect (sp?) is not responsible for keeping the thing aloft, the disruption of the air over the top of the wing is irrelavent...or maybe just kinda irrelavent. I dunno.

The big question I always had was mentioned above: what about a big fat wake smacking into one wingtip? Wouldn't the thing spin into the water and grind itself to bits? And the answer was: um, yep! Buuut...pilots seldom intentionally fly into big thunderstorms, and by the same caution these thingys wouldn't fly into heavy, choppy seas. My dad knew about this stuff.

And they really were ugly, huh?


schuylercat
Posted 28 April 2006 at 10:04 am

Prince said: "i dont suppose anybody has been in one, but are those things loud or not?

Also, Floj, i think you need to see a good shrink."

Everyone said: "You insult the Floj!? The Floj is amazing! j/k and I like pie too."

Aw, c'mon! Floj DOES need a shrink! He needs a shrink who really likes PIE!!! Come to think of it, I need a shrink who really likes pie. Hmm. Can't we just get along? What were we talking about?


dmwit
Posted 28 April 2006 at 10:19 am

another viewpoint said: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction…so what happens to the rearward forces on a low speed flying aircraft when a missile is launched?

Hi. I don't actually know the real answer to this, but I suspect that missile launches have negligible effect on the carrying vehicle. Why? Well, as you say, the missile has to push on SOMETHING, but that something doesn't have to be the plane. Often, planes will just drop the missiles, then a short time later the missile will begin firing -- at which point it is propelling itself by emitting gas. Of course there is no reason for this to produce a force on the plane, so...

~d


Ironclaw
Posted 28 April 2006 at 10:39 am

Mark said: "There's no way you'd get me in one of those, they just don't look safe. I mean what if a sudden wave smashed into it or something. No way, horrifying."

Um - like all of those shipping containers that are constantly being dropped into the sea...


icenine
Posted 28 April 2006 at 10:52 am

dmwit said: " Often, planes will just drop the missiles, then a short time later the missile will begin firing — at which point it is propelling itself by emitting gas.

~d"

But if you just dropped a missile and you were flying at an altitude of 30 ft, surely you'd either be dumping the missile into the water (which makes some sense if it's a sub hunter plane) or you'd be in the field of fire of the missile you just dropped.


xfrosch
Posted 28 April 2006 at 01:00 pm

out of curiosity, when did Boeing last build something with a prop engine? when I was there in the '80s we were writing ridiculous proposals using jet engines for drone RPVs and ASW patrol aircraft (I believe Indonesia actually bought a few).


Duffmiester
Posted 28 April 2006 at 01:31 pm

The big onr went by the (NATO?)nickname "Caspian Sea Monster", an caused heart attacks in the Pentagon when it was first seen in a satillite photo. The platform has many of the problems of any seaplane, but can move so much wieght with such efficiency that it's amazing...


Duffmiester
Posted 28 April 2006 at 01:32 pm

*one, ect... typing on percoset... 8)


SparkyTWP
Posted 28 April 2006 at 04:14 pm

kakarot said: "I dont remember exact, but it goes like 1 mach or so.

The wikipedia article says it doesn't go mach 1.

Rusians made a true Undetactable Air Plain/Ship. It can go undetected, but can be detacted by sound. But it flies just above the speed of sound, so good luck on destroying one."

A plane going faster than sound will have a sonic boom with it, and you can use that to locate the plane.


kakarot
Posted 28 April 2006 at 05:01 pm

SparkyTWP,

ye you right, it was like 0.5 mach or so.

but its awsome when its going full, or battle ready. The addition to old version they have atached rockets like 1 or 2 and like couple of torpidoes, like the Japanese had for Pearl Harbor.

Also if made right. A rocket can be atached that way that when fired it can move forward and not be atached to the plain. WITH reinforced plaiting so that the rocket burn would not burn the plain.

in dark, only by sound it can be detected. and it cannot fly in bad weather. So this plains are used where usually mostly clear. And you can probably see them if you go to russia. There is no Patrols, only this plains, and like 1 ship there.

I had a video, but I cannot find it couse its like 3 years old.

These plains where before even the UTKA. Utka is more now days, that one is old.


sierra_club_sux
Posted 28 April 2006 at 07:23 pm

How did a whole Russian crew die in a craft flying 20 feet over water? Can't they afford seatbelts?


TKO
Posted 28 April 2006 at 08:37 pm

sierra_club_sux said: "How did a whole Russian crew die in a craft flying 20 feet over water? Can't they afford seatbelts?"

I suspect when your vehicle hits the water at 500 knots (or whatever high speed), the force is going to seriously hurt. I would love to see one of these monsters in action. Ugly or not, it'd be an impressive sight. ...More so if it's loaded with Pie! Mmmmmm... Pie.

I wouldn't think big waves or other obstacles out at sea would be a huge problem.. they could easily be detected in time to react. Though these craft were primarily designed for low altitude flight, there's always the option of steering over or around hazards.


tonnes
Posted 28 April 2006 at 09:08 pm

The Boeing guys got it right: If you can make it big enough, the requisite wingspan for ground effect is sufficient to keep it above even the biggest seas. Give it enough reserve power to hop over any other obstructions like ships, bridges, etc.

Still, do they think about stuff like bird strikes? Lots of birds at sea level. What about the hellish salt air? Big potential for corrosion. What about weather? Can you reliably fly that thing across the northern Atlantic in winter?


USNSPARKS
Posted 28 April 2006 at 09:23 pm

“When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it’s not, mmmmmmm, boy.”
-- Jack Handy


Tex
Posted 29 April 2006 at 10:03 am

Cause i'm smart enough, im hungry enough, and dog gone it.... I like PIE!


XJ076A
Posted 02 May 2006 at 09:50 am

pie is good... custard pie, apple pie, blueberry pie...

pie...

quick question... how did a article on GEV's get into pie?

it's my bday today... i want pie....


Byrden
Posted 03 May 2006 at 12:24 pm

Pallm
Posted 16 July 2006 at 02:38 am

What would happen if said plain flew over someone at sea level carying a full payload of pies, crushing?


A say, no need S
Posted 22 July 2006 at 02:18 am

eeewww,,,ussr russia plane is sooo ugly and low / no life,,,

too much show off to america,,,america still beat ussr russia,,,
america plane is the best plane in the world than ussr russia,,,
ussr russia is always COPY STEAL COPY STEAL from america idea,,,


Ekserb
Posted 16 August 2006 at 05:48 am

Just to set a few things straight:

The ground effect cushion of a wing is roughly half of the wingspan, not double. A vehicle with a 100-foot wing span would be in ground effect at about 50 feet altitude, measured from the bottom surface of the wing.

WIG vehicles, while not strictly capable of sustained aerodynamic flight, are able to gain enough altitude to "hop" over obstacles on the surface. Large waves and ships on the water would not be a problem if detected early enough to avoid them. (Operating in ground effect is not technically "flight," so these vehicles are not airplanes. Since they almost never actually leave the ground effect cushion they do not operate within the normal airspace requirements. A pilot's license is not required for operating one of these vehicles. Again, this is a technicality - I doubt any commercial entity would operate a vehicle like this without some kind of licensed operator at the controls.)

Launching a missle from any airborne craft doesn't affect the flight of the launch platform in any way, other than to lighten said platform. Missles are loaded on a sliding rack or - as mentioned before - dropped from the carrying vehicle. In the case of the rack-mounted missle, the rocket engine ignites while the missile is on the rack and the rocket thrust pushes the missile off the rack. When the missile is dropped from the belly of the launch platform, the rocket engine ignites within a very short period after it leaves the hangers. In either case, the missile accelerates so quickly that it is clear of the platform in a split second and there is little chance of the missile hitting the launch platform or the water unless some kind of malfunction occurs.

This type of vehicle was featured in a Popular Science article about twenty years ago. As usual, they were crowing about how these were going to replace airplanes and ships and smaller versions were going to be the new personal watercraft. Yeah, right. The same issue might have said we would all be flying around Mars with personal rocket belts by now.


CocaColaMatt
Posted 29 August 2006 at 09:44 pm

CAN'T WAIT TO FLY ONE ON MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR!!! I'd love to see the new Boeing Pelican in action or just merely sitting at the end of a runway. Seventy-six tires...wow! I don't suppose landing this thing on a CVN would work huh?


sh0cktopus
Posted 05 December 2006 at 02:06 am

It seems like it would be pretty scary piloting a craft with a 150m wingspan at an altitude of 20 ft. Not much room for error. I wish you wouldn't mix and match metric units with retarded units. Pick one. If the wingspan is 150m, the altitude should be 6m. Or else go with 500 ft and 20 ft. Is the cargo capacity in tons or metric tons? Doesn't anyone on here like cake? What would you people say if every comment I posted was "Mmmm... beer."


psyOtic
Posted 20 December 2006 at 03:24 am

sh0cktopus said: "It seems like it would be pretty scary piloting a craft with a 150m wingspan at an altitude of 20 ft. Not much room for error. I wish you wouldn't mix and match metric units with retarded units. Pick one. If the wingspan is 150m, the altitude should be 6m. Or else go with 500 ft and 20 ft. Is the cargo capacity in tons or metric tons? Doesn't anyone on here like cake? What would you people say if every comment I posted was "Mmmm… beer.""

I like cake.....and beer. Also good point loose the retarded units (I prefer metric) if make it easier to understand not having to switch in between the two.


James
Posted 20 December 2006 at 08:57 am

sh0cktopus said: "It seems like it would be pretty scary piloting a craft with a 150m wingspan at an altitude of 20 ft. Not much room for error. I wish you wouldn't mix and match metric units with retarded units. Pick one. If the wingspan is 150m, the altitude should be 6m. Or else go with 500 ft and 20 ft. Is the cargo capacity in tons or metric tons? Doesn't anyone on here like cake? What would you people say if every comment I posted was "Mmmm… beer.""

Most of us in America can handle this because we actually understand both and don’t need someone to hold our hand to translate units of measure…RETRARD

Or if you really can’t handle the switch why not lose the simpleton (metric) units instead. After all Greg is an American. You wouldn’t expect him to write his articles in German.
Sometimes having to think about something instead of having it easy or handed to you is a good thing. But I wouldn’t want you to have actually use your brain wouldn’t that be a shame. So you use whatever system you want to use but don’t try to tell somebody else what units to use. Maybe you should write an article and than we can all sit around and pick apart your writing style, but until than leave the guy alone.


misanthrope
Posted 21 December 2006 at 06:06 am

Asking that units not be mixed is perfectly reasonable.


James
Posted 21 December 2006 at 10:39 am

misanthrope said: "Asking that units not be mixed is perfectly reasonable."

I did not say it wasn't. I objected to the Idea that metric is inherently better because it is easy it multiply ect with. I prefer the sizes in the U.S. customary units, they are more natural, relative to the human proportion and human understanding, there are actual reasons it can into being and is still used today other than tradition it really does have its advantages. So before people start forgoing sensible unit sizes for simple math and unit sizes that have little to do with human scale and everything to do with scientific measurements, think about what is really sensible for everyday use. I also objected to the arrogant tone of the comment. That was my point.


Alx_xlA
Posted 29 September 2007 at 04:13 pm

A say, no need S said: "eeewww,,,ussr russia plane is sooo ugly and low / no life,,,

too much show off to america,,,america still beat ussr russia,,,
america plane is the best plane in the world than ussr russia,,,
ussr russia is always COPY STEAL COPY STEAL from america idea,,,"

Don't be a douche.

Brought to you by the international society for not being a douche.

As an aside, what about the Hughes H-4 Hercules (aka the Spruce Goose (even though it was made of birch, not spruce))? Many people claim it only flew as a result of ground effect. I did a science fair project on it. Got bored and didn't finish, though.


maroonmifti
Posted 24 October 2007 at 04:47 am

Let's get serious here. Where do you put the duplex drive for entering and leaving harbour?
How do we transition this thing from water to earth dirt application or are we stuck with using air cushion vehicles? (from oz)


fido
Posted 29 December 2007 at 06:59 am

Anybody tried a Wigan kebab ? 3 pies on a stick !


navroan
Posted 05 May 2009 at 06:38 am

Now, I'm not a pilot, but a plane with a 492.12 ft (150m) wingspan flying 20 feet off the ground at any real speed would be a rather nerve wracking experience to fly. As a scale comparison, roughly the height at which your car is off the ground. =p If it became a reality, I'm sure in practice it would probably sit a little higher than that for safety... but there's still that bird problem, especially as you approach land.


navroan
Posted 05 May 2009 at 06:40 am

I would assume that since the pelican is a 'hybrid' it would fly like a normal plane when it approaches land, and then assume the high efficiency ground effect cruise after it gets many miles out.


kasutt
Posted 09 January 2010 at 08:28 am

Wow! A good old-fashioned flame war. And about metrification, at that. ;) I'm a little late to the discussion - about three years - but altitudes have been measured in feet since the dawn of aviation. That august body known as ICAO would love to "harmonize" practices, but a century of cockpit discipline and a half-century of ATC terminology are formidable barriers. And yes, Americans come in two flavors with regard to systems metric: lots of us know both "The Metric System" and the English system; lots of us don't know either one. Waesucks! (cf. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waesucks).


chipchenry
Posted 11 November 2010 at 08:07 pm

Boeing is likely creating this aircraft to take advantage of the Arctic Sea being ice free by 2012 to sell for cargo transport. When the seas are open, the Russian Natural Gas plant being built on the other side of the expected ice free sea will be a hop away, and with that tonnage of cargo capacity, this type of plane would be a better cost effective and safer method to transport the natural gas and/or fuel. There'll also be a boom n standard cargo. As a hybrid with high altitude capabilities, it could also make the trips during high seas negating the ground effect it's built to operate in.

Alternatively it could be used to transport military personnel and equipment.

They'd use turboprops because they're the most efficient engine available and can be configured to burn several different types of fuel.


Vakulin
Posted 21 July 2011 at 04:08 pm

Why people looking at old development? I know a lot of a new, nice development of WIGs. The best one from my mind is: http://aquagen.ru/eng/planes/akvaplan/ But no one is writing about it or discussing. It is 2011 year, not Orlyonok that was done at 1986!!!! Let's discuss modern things!


Phillip Faulkner
Posted 15 December 2013 at 12:36 am

I would like for you aeronautical nuts to clear something up for me: at what point on the Pelican is it 20 ft. above the surface of the water? I notice that the plane has wing tips that point down, are the bottom of these tips 20 ft. above the water, or are they lower. If these wing-tips are lower than 20 ft. they would have a much better (or is worse?) chance of hitting the water. Right? And by the way, the most delicious pie in the world has a long name, here it is: Eagelbrand Lemon Meringue, Graham Cracker Crust, Pie Cherry Pie. And if you make this pie you will not be able to stop eating it and you will die. I have made these pies and I have been dead for quite some time, so I know what I am talking about.


The Islander
Posted 27 December 2014 at 02:55 am

wileybot said: "Curious, how do these perform over rough or heavy swell seas?"

The average wave height in the North Atlantic is 2.6 m


The Islander
Posted 27 December 2014 at 03:29 am

Alx_xlA said: "A say, no need S said: "eeewww,,,ussr russia plane is sooo ugly and low / no life,,,
too much show off to america,,,america still beat ussr russia,,,
america plane is the best plane in the world than ussr russia,,,
ussr russia is always COPY STEAL COPY STEAL from america idea,,,"
Don't be a douche.
Brought to you by the international society for not being a douche.
As an aside, what about the Hughes H-4 Hercules (aka the Spruce Goose (even though it was made of birch, not spruce))? Many people claim it only flew as a result of ground effect. I did a science fair project on it. Got bored and didn't finish, though."

It didn't matter to Hughes whether it flew or not, I think he was a philanthropist and provided years of work for his staff allowing them to buy houses and raise their families in comfort. In those days one could not hand out 'Dosh' to strangers without a project or a goal. A simple power to weight calculation would have revealed an inadequate performance right from the start. Also, I seem to remember Mr. Boeing was in the wood trade? --------- after that it gets a bit murky!


Islander
Posted 28 December 2014 at 02:50 am

chipchenry said: "Boeing is likely creating this aircraft to take advantage of the Arctic Sea being ice free by 2012 to sell for cargo transport. When the seas are open, the Russian Natural Gas plant being built on the other side of the expected ice free sea will be a hop away, and with that tonnage of cargo capacity, this type of plane would be a better cost effective and safer method to transport the natural gas and/or fuel. There'll also be a boom n standard cargo. As a hybrid with high altitude capabilities, it could also make the trips during high seas negating the ground effect it's built to operate in.

Alternatively it could be used to transport military personnel and equipment.
They'd use turboprops because they're the most efficient engine available and can be configured to burn several different types of fuel."

Not as efficient as a turbo diesel with high pressure electronic multiple injection. Can one buy an 'off the shelf' kit to re-configure popular turboprop engines for different fuels I wonder? Also, would the aircraft type certificate allow it, it is a major modification to the aircraft and the authorities are very reluctant to 'meddle' with type certificates, as a lot of them only hold up because nobody meddles. On the topic of Arctic sea ice, in my imagination the polar ice cap is pretty flat so would suit a GEV right now. If, in fact, the ice does melt, the Japs would build a 500,000 tonne gas tanker, within a month, for half the price of the GEV. Man it with a Filipino crew and paint 'CHEEP GAS' on the side, job done!


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