I'd never heard of an ekranoplan (my bad).
But I dug these reports about the 35-year-old curiosity/relic and how it was recovered from the Caspian Sea:
- The 'Caspian Sea Monster' rises from the grave
Beached on the western shores of the Caspian Sea, it looks like a colossal aquatic beast -- a bizarre creation more at home in the deep than above the waves. It certainly doesn't look like something that could ever fly. But fly it did -- albeit a long time ago.
After lying dormant for more than three decades, the Caspian Sea Monster has been on the move again. One of the most eye-catching flying machines ever built, it's completing what could be its final journey.
- Watch: The 380-Ton ‘Caspian Sea Monster’ Plane Emerges From the Water for the First Time in 30 Years
Furthermore, by taking advantage of an aerodynamic principle known as “ground effect,” it could seamlessly glide over water without actually touching it. This is a nifty characteristic of all ekranoplans, a.k.a. ground effect vehicles, which skim the surface of the water at a height of between 3 feet to 16 feet. This makes them difficult to detect by radar and perfect for seaborne attacks. The mammoth aircraft could even take off and land in tumultuous weather while facing waves of up to 8 feet.