UPCOMING CAMPAIGN: Meet the Caspian Sea Monster
We're excited to launch our next project: Meet the Caspian Sea Monster.
A STORY OF CASPIAN SEA MONSTER
The term Caspian Sea Monster came about when U.S. satellites first spotted the large vehicle with stubby wings skimming over the waters of the Caspian Sea. Initially they thought it to be a prototype flying boat.
The Caspian Sea Monster (ekranoplan) was the world's largest and heaviest airplane like vehicle to be operated in ground effect.
The craft had ten turbojets, with two tail-mounted and eight canard-mounted; the eight canard-mounted engines would shut off after takeoff, leaving the two tail-mounted engines to power the craft during normal travel.
The KM was undetectable to many radar systems, as it flew below the minimum altitude of detection. Despite technically being an aircraft, it was considered by the authorities to be closer to a boat and was assigned to the Soviet Navy, but operated by test pilots of the Soviet Air Forces. The Caspian Monster was documented as a marine vessel and prior to the first flight a bottle of champagne was broken against its nose, a tradition for the first voyage of a watercraft.
You can get an idea of the size of the Caspian Sea Monster and its engines by the above picture. The size of the vehicle makes the people walking on it seem very small.
No one in the world has yet managed to achieve the same smooth flight over water with such dimensions.
Its surprise discovery by the United States and the subsequent attempts to determine its purpose became a distinctive event of espionage during the Cold War.
It was tested on the Caspian Sea for 15 years until 1980, when it was destroyed following a crash caused by pilot error. There were no human casualties, but the Caspian Monster was damaged and no attempts were made to save it, it being left to float before eventually sinking a week later. The KM was deemed too heavy to recover and has remained underwater at the crash site ever since.
The Caspian Sea Monster remained the largest aircraft in the world during the entirety of its existence and is the second-largest aircraft ever built, behind the Antonov An-225 Mriya that flew for the first time in 1988.