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We need diaries about the most exterme planes. Apparently, the heaviest things to have 'flown' ever were those Soviet Ekranoplans :

I had the privilege myself of navigating the Volga on an hydrofoil ('raketta' in Russian), a very impressive machine on regular service, up to this day.

by balbuz on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 04:03:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Could you write a diary about those 'raketta'?

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 04:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What am I getting myself into ! :)

Depends what is the level of accuracy/expertise/completeness required...

My whole expertise on the subject is a couple of stories I could write up combined with a good Internet connection to do some research !

by balbuz on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 05:21:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
9 still active Soviet-made hydrofoils conduct a regular Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest service on the Danube - now you can also rent them. Data of the three types in use and photos in the second link in English, or in Hungarian but with more detail from here; below direct links and photos for the youngest ship in each class:

The 44-seat Bíbic IV:

The 62-seat Vöcsök IV:

The 104-seat Sólyom III:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 05:49:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, all of the Bíbics and the last Sólyom were made after the collapse of the Soviet Union in Russia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 05:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tons of info at riverships.ru, but I prefer not to link directly the images, to save their bandwidth :
http://www.riverships.ru/english/types/?grp=3

It seems they are (still?) running them in the Netherlands and in Canada.

I sailed - or flew - them in the Caribbean, in Saint Petersburg (not Florida !) and on the Volga.

by balbuz on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 06:21:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently, the heaviest things to have 'flown' ever were those Soviet Ekranoplans

Not anymore: the KM could take off with 540 (metric) tons, but the An-225 beat it in that 2001 flight with 600 tons, and the Airbus A-380 also beat it at 560 tons MTOW (though maybe Elco B can tell whether this has been actually achieved in the test flights so far). The A380 freighter version will have 590 MTOW (but only a cargo of 150 tons - nowhere near as economic as the Mriya).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 06:33:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first testflight of the A-380 on 27/04/2005 in Toulouse had a take-off weight of 480 tons. The plane is designed for a MTOW of 560 tonnes.  Safety demands a plane structure that remains intact at a 150% loadfactor(which can occur during flight, steep dive.....).  The static test for that purpose was succesfull , albeit there was a 3% miscalculation by the designers.  In that test , the wing-tips wer moved-up (hydraulically) more than 7 (seven) meters befor the first crack occured.
Testlights with 5 planes are ongoing, I do not now yet what was so far the maximum take off weight. Tests abraod for handling the big machine on airfields have been done with about 420 tonnes TOW. Max landing weight is 380 tonnes.

I have a super nice film here : How to build a A-380 in seven minutes!

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 08:20:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Elco, incredible clip !

You owe it to yourself to visit the Airbus assembly halls in Toulouse. They have a "portes ouvertes" day. The size of these halls is such that from high up in the public area you just see motionless monsters, hardly any human activity, just here and there ant-like creatures going about their business. Quite impressive.

Makes one proud to be an European...

by balbuz on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 08:59:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cool video! Combining the best in European industrial propaganda ;-)

The A380 flew more than hundred (or is it already hundreds?) of test-flights, so that could long have included MTOW flights.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 12:00:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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