Tests EKIP Russian apparatus, called a flying saucer, it could be four years. And where do you think? At Webster Field, site of a naval base dollars. Although invented an unusual aircraft in the suburban queen and has been for many years developing the plate at the Saratov Aviation Plant.
— But why be surprised? — Director Alexander Ermichine aircraft factory. — Normal, alas, for the Russian situation. Remember our first inventor Kulibina: of all its many developments (elevator, self-propelled transporter) was carried out during the life of one — a unique watch, and those for the fun of the Empress.
The name of the aircraft EKIP stands for "Ecology and progress." So inventors dubbed their creation. Over the years, Saratov plate has become almost legendary. This machine is capable of carrying loads in the hundreds and thousands of tons of passengers. In this case, its flight range is two to three times higher than today's airliners. Traditional aircraft he leaves behind, and from the point of view of environmental and noise, besides requiring less fuel. EKIP form is least advanced aircraft and actually resembles a UFO.
The main secret of plates in a vortex device, patented by its inventor in Russia and abroad, which is attached to the machine and unusual aerodynamic properties. Part of the surface plate body is composed of special cells.
What is the usual lack of aviation — vibration and vortices formed around the body, the inventors Equipo forced to work to ensure the flight. And one more special is that with a large area of the body Equipo that aircraft can be equipped with landing gear on an air cushion, the benefits of which are still in the aircraft could not be used. Plate with a pillow airfield is not required, it can sit on any flat surface: the water, soil or sand.
In general, the aircraft turns future.
It is unknown as to fate of this invention does not meet a designer Lev Shchukin in the late 80's of the last century, with the director of the Saratov Aviation Plant. While the young and ambitious Director Alexander Ermishina just managed to convert SAZ in the country's first national enterprise. Decree signed by Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov.
As he recalls Ermichine, while not a day passed in the director's office, always, he says, is open to interesting ideas of any kind, did not appear that the savior of the Fatherland, the inventor of perpetual motion, or orbital power, or reactive Harvester and certainly (plant something Aviation) — the aircraft is not known to anyone using the principles of retention in the air.
EKIP seemed at first one of these extravagant ideas here. However, Saratov Aviation Plant has agreed to take part in more than a risky project.
In aviation, according Ermichine, there is a need of generational change, too complex and expensive technology has become. Alexander gives the following example: "747" at the time of its creation, was worth $ 22 million, now — about 140 million. Mankind spends more on aviation and receives approximately the same.
The new aircraft — a way out of this kind of stopper. Not looking for a special runway, EKIP can seriously influence the airfield network — aircraft becomes available. For now, the road to the airport, waiting for the flight time is often comparable to the duration of the flight.
— During one of the meetings, which took place at the San Francisco airport — gives another example Ermichine — I watched this scene: the queue waiting to take off at the same time 14 aircraft. The average wait time taking off with the engine running was 47 minutes. During this period, from the surface of the nearby bay all 14 aircraft could fly at the same time.
So here are obvious for designers Equipe and plant manager to make things clear for others, it took fourteen years. The last years of the Saratov Aviation Plant produces two Yak-42 instead of 24 cars as before. The plant is organized center for aircraft maintenance, arranged production of boats and other equipment. But all this only helps the company to survive. A particularly difficult situation at the plant was last winter: turn off heat, water. For days there was no electricity. However, work on the project Equipe did not stop. A few years ago at the airport of the plant have been successfully tested radio-controlled 50-pound model Equipe. Then was built 9-ton machine, it was assumed that the second is the same model will rise into the air. But the funds to continue the work the company has no. There is no money for it in Russia. While the most significant investment in the project EKIP made the Ministry of Forestry: it was assumed that the device can be used for fighting forest fires.
Since 2000, the management of the Group and of the Saratov Aviation Plant EKIP start looking for investors overseas. Frisbee interested in Japanese and Chinese. But the first serious proposal was received from the United States. In Saratov came a delegation from the company NAVAIR, working at the naval forces of the USA. Signed a protocol of intent.
— Technology, which has a concern EKIP, can lead to the development of a class of aircraft, such that we ourselves could not imagine — said the expert of the American John Fisher.
While the Americans objectively interested in unmanned Equipo model that can be used for freight. And the intended market for this class of devices in the U.S. is estimated at $ 2-3 billion.
In January, Alexander Ermichine went to the talks in Maryland, where three years must be tested Equipe. At the base of the U.S. Navy, where he had not had any Russian citizen, testified before the U.S. military and aircraft manufacturers.
— You do not wish your child goes over the ocean?
— First, we do not leave attempts to find investors in Russia, and secondly, EKIP overseas will not go away. A few years ago, I and General Designer of concern to make a bid to build a plant in the U.S., even showing the territory — we refused. Homeland at this age do not change. Now we are talking about equal partnership.
Father Leo frisbee Shchukin, unfortunately, and to those prospects did not live.
— He was a great scientist, worked aerodynamicist at the Queen, then in the "Energia". Passed away three years ago — said Ermichine.
Leo returned to the car home when he had a heart attack. It was in the suburban queen. The designer pulled up to the traffic police post, asked to call the medics. While police were deciding whether to do it, the help was not needed.
Andrey Kulikov, GSS. corr. "Labor."