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Ekranoplan concept - Technical issues with vehicle.

Question

Currently I am designing a ground-effect vehicle in KSP, named the GEV-1 (Ground Effect Vehicle 1), looking to one day turn it into a ground-effect aircraft carrier. Since the ground-effect phenomenon does not exist in the game, I am just looking to make this large beast fly at low altitudes. Like any large beasts, they usually have many technical problems, and while working on the ground-effect vehicle it quickly became apparent that there will not be enough power or enough lift to compensate the size of the vehicle. I am looking for any help to get this vehicle flying, at whatever the cost as long as it keeps these features:

  • Fuel should be enough to cross an ocean.
  • Vehicle should be able to land as a hydroplane.
  • Vehicle should be able to fly over water stably.
  • The aircraft ramp should be able to keep it's length the same or slightly smaller.
  • It can takeoff and land on water.
  • (Optional) should be able to survive time warp, however I can fix it myself.

 

If you wish to see how the vehicle performs in person, here is a download link to the .craft:

 

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As you noticed, since KSP doesn't simulate ground effect, a true ekranoplan is not doable. You could simulate one by:

  • Making a true plane that can fly on its own, just keep it close to the surface. Seeing as your craft weighs over 700t and has 800 parts (surprised that my laptop could run it without melting BTW), I don't think this is a reasonable option because it would require much greater surface area and reduced drag.
  • Making a fast boat: using buoyancy to minimise contact with water. This is quite similar to what you currently have, you'd just need to add some more floats to make it have a lower waterline. Although this means that you will always be in contact with water: your ship will not "fly" like an ekranoplan, and the hydrodynamic drag will reduce your efficiency and top speed a fair bit.
  • Finally, what I consider the best option: making a hydrofoil. By sticking a few (many, actually, since your craft is quite heavy) hydrofoils under the ship could provide enough lift for your GEV to rise above water (at least the hull, you'll still have the foils underwater).
    • Pros of this concept: since only the foils touch the water you have very little drag compared to a regular boat allowing for greater efficiency and top speed, your ship would look like an ekranoplan being able to take off the surface of water, you already have wings which could help (a little bit) with the lift and control.
    • Cons: hydrofoils are a pain to make: they require a lot of tweaking, especially at higher speeds when aerodynamic lift becomes significant; KSP's water physics can be a bit dodgy so it would require a lot of monitoring: even when well built a hydrofoil is twitchy and a tad of pitch or yaw could send the whole thing to the abyss, it's not guaranteed to survive time warp especially if it requires active control (SAS) to keep it going (and it will); your craft is heavy so you'd need a lot of hydrofoil surfaces, making it even more complex.

Either way making this beast take off is not going to be an easy task.

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Demonstrating the above suggestions re: hydrofoils etc...

 

Water landing is more about controlling your vertical velocity than an issue of horizontal speed. You just need to have a stable, controllable aircraft and practice flying level at extremely low altitudes.

A pair of downwards-facing searchlights (Dambusters style) can be useful as an easy altitude reference mark, like this one has:

See here for inspiration:

 

Edited by Wanderfound

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2 hours ago, Gaarst said:

As you noticed, since KSP doesn't simulate ground effect, a true ekranoplan is not doable. You could simulate one by:

  • Making a true plane that can fly on its own, just keep it close to the surface. Seeing as your craft weighs over 700t and has 800 parts (surprised that my laptop could run it without melting BTW), I don't think this is a reasonable option because it would require much greater surface area and reduced drag.
  • Making a fast boat: using buoyancy to minimise contact with water. This is quite similar to what you currently have, you'd just need to add some more floats to make it have a lower waterline. Although this means that you will always be in contact with water: your ship will not "fly" like an ekranoplan, and the hydrodynamic drag will reduce your efficiency and top speed a fair bit.
  • Finally, what I consider the best option: making a hydrofoil. By sticking a few (many, actually, since your craft is quite heavy) hydrofoils under the ship could provide enough lift for your GEV to rise above water (at least the hull, you'll still have the foils underwater).
    • Pros of this concept: since only the foils touch the water you have very little drag compared to a regular boat allowing for greater efficiency and top speed, your ship would look like an ekranoplan being able to take off the surface of water, you already have wings which could help (a little bit) with the lift and control.
    • Cons: hydrofoils are a pain to make: they require a lot of tweaking, especially at higher speeds when aerodynamic lift becomes significant; KSP's water physics can be a bit dodgy so it would require a lot of monitoring: even when well built a hydrofoil is twitchy and a tad of pitch or yaw could send the whole thing to the abyss, it's not guaranteed to survive time warp especially if it requires active control (SAS) to keep it going (and it will); your craft is heavy so you'd need a lot of hydrofoil surfaces, making it even more complex.

Either way making this beast take off is not going to be an easy task.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll experimenting with these variations and will eventually conclude any results I may find, perhaps even discover a completely brand new of type of naval travel with stock parts. For now I am accepting any other suggestions you or others may have to improve the vehicle.

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Here's my suggested prototype. This is more of a demonstration of principle, rather than a full plane. I got tired of sticking wing segments on. :wink:

Takes off from land at about 100m/s. Takes off from water at about 90 m/s. Lands very nicely on water all the way down to 35m/s (make sure it's below 60!). Use the 1 key to toggle off the whiplash once you are in the air.

Basically the point is that it's not going to take nearly as much fuel to cross an ocean as what you have on yours. And you have to cut weight. Structural fuselages weigh less than girders and have better mechanical properties. Get rid of struts. Use a few autostruts instead.

https://pastebin.com/raw/hNjSwiJm

 

Edited by bewing

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Which version of this .craft from? I am unable to load the .craft file for my current version of KSP (ID: 1622). 

I took a look at the aircraft, and while a bit unusual, it does fly rather well. However while this may be a good step to something greater, it will need to be able to carry aircraft similar to weight of the stock Satellite Launcher. I'll be experimenting with this variation aswell, thank you for the suggestions :)

Edited by ★ = Shocker = ★
added text

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You can edit the version in the .craft file to 1.2.2 if you need to.

 

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