The “Caspian Sea Monster” is alive!
Well actually we already know that. Reports last year pointed to the re-emergence of a large “wing in ground-effect” (WIG) vehicle being developed once again for the Russian military.
The huge ‘Ekranoplan’ which so startled western military intelligence back in the mid-1960s during the Cold war when it was spotted hurtling across the Caspian Sea, proved that WIG vehicles can travel at high speed and high fuel efficiency for long distances suspended a few metres above the sea on a squashed cushion of dense air. It became known as the “Caspian Sea Monster”, when western observers noted the letters KM on its wings and initially dubbed it the ‘Kaspian Monster’.
Now there is a small version being designed by a London-based innovation company, Exclin Ltd – the Vertex Recreational Vehicle.
This fuel-efficient vehicle concept should offer pilots an exhilarating, low-altitude flight over the sea at speeds up to 150 kph, and uses their Vertex Lift System technology to allow vertical take-off and stable flight.
The patented Vertex Lift System technology was a Golden Bridge Awards Gold Winner at Energy Industry Innovations in the US in 2017 – and the vehicle was shortlisted in the British Engineering Excellence Awards in the same year. The system takes conventional WIG technology and adds “lift thrust”, providing control and stability independent of vehicle speed. It also means the vehicle can take off vertically from a ground surface while still offering the flexibility of conventional take-off and landing on ground or water.
The Vertex Recreational Vehicle is aimed at recreational users looking for an alternative to a speedboat to reach locations further afield than most boats, such as islands and distant coves. The company say it will be easy to fly and require limited training compared to an aircraft – giving it a low “barrier to entry” for pilots, and it will be possible to separate the main wing from the body, in order to tow the craft with a car.
They suggest another consumer market could be luxury seaside hotels or resort villas in regions such as the Bahamas, Fiji, Greece and the Maldives. meanwhile they are developing plans for a freight version.
(Image: Exclin Ltd)