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The Ekranoplan Vehicle Design Project

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

ET Design Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1253.1 - 9.1253.8

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Paper Authors

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Eric Leonhardt

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3548

The Ekranoplan Vehicle Design Project Eric Leonhardt Western Washington University


The Ekranoplan project offers technology educators an additional inexpensive and creative design project that is appropriate for students from middle school through university. The project excites students about technology while motivating them to learn math and science using a team-oriented environment. The project utilizes learning objectives that may be tied to standardized assessments.

Masters of Education candidates at Western Washington University developed the Ekranoplan vehicle project during a Technology Education course. An Ekranoplan or Wing-In-Ground Effect vehicle flies very close to a water surface. The vehicle uses design elements of both airplanes and marine craft. Ground-effect flight enables a vehicle to carry either a larger payload or operate with greater fuel efficiency than a conventional airplane. The candidates tested several vehicle configurations, power sources and construction techniques. Vehicle construction guidelines and curriculum outlines were developed to disseminate to other technology educators. The project has been used to teach the engineering design process to freshman students in Western Washington University’s Engineering Technology Design Graphics course.


Masters of Education candidates within the Technology Education program are required to develop vehicle-based technology projects to use in their own high school and middle school classes. The purpose of the vehicle project is to motivate students to learn about teamwork, engineering design, math, physics and technology. The candidates create a curriculum plan that incorporates the project. The curriculum plan includes the educational objectives that the candidates intend to meet and the assessment tools that the candidates will use. The candidates build examples of the vehicles and test them in a friendly competition at the end of the course. During the summer of 2002, candidates were introduced to the Ekranoplan vehicle. This vehicle provides educators with an interesting and creative project for all levels of technology education.

What is an Ekranoplan?

Ekranoplan is a Russian word for a vehicle that exploits the benefits of ground effect flight. The Ekranoplan or Wing-In-Ground Effect vehicle flies in close proximity to a surface, usually water, to improve the lift to drag ratio of its airfoils. The improvement in the lift to drag ratio enables either the size of the wing to be reduced or larger cargo capacity. For a given vehicle and payload, reducing the size of the wing may improve fuel economy by reducing a vehicle’s drag.1 The ground effect benefit improves as vehicle size grows. Some of the largest flying “Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Leonhardt, E. (2004, June), The Ekranoplan Vehicle Design Project Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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