In my RSS feed reader I have a folder for websites called “Weirdness.” This folder orgnizes feeds from such unusual sites as Awkward Family Photos, Cracked, Mental Floss, Fail Blog, and Dark Roasted Blend, among others. Sometimes I’ll get a link to a new website that joins the list of weird feeds. Every now and then something pops up on one of those sites that is worthy of more than just a bookmark or a Tweet. So, I’m going to try to highlight the best of these with a Friday Freaks post on, you got it, Fridays!
Today’s Freak comes from Dark Roasted Blend, and it’s the Ekronoplan, an unusual ground effects vehicle from the Cold War Soviet Union that is part boat, part, aircraft, and all weirdness. The Ekronoplan is so weird, in fact, that DRB devoted two posts to this unusual vehicle.
Most of the Ekronoplans were developed by Rostislav Alexeev, who was also prominent in hydrofoil design. His designs tended to be very large, and with unusual wing and engine configurations. The craft look more like something out of the old Thunderbirds TV series than actual aircraft.
The largest of the Alexeev Ekronoplans was “The Caspian Sea Monster”, launched in 1966. It was 100 m long and weighed 544 tons. Thrust was provided by eight nose-mounted turbojets.
However, even scarier than this was the Lun (Spasatel) built in 1987. Not quite as long as the Sea Monster, this craft was more massive, dwarfing every current modern jet aircraft. It was designed for submarine warfare, and also featured eight ventrally mounted rockets. Production was stopped with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Dark Roasted blend also found a great YouTube video of the Ekronoplans in action. I have embedded it below. Enjoy!