This is my Great Uncle Jessie Marshall, MSgt US Air Corps ca 1942, on the wing of a BT-13 Vultee Vibrator.
Here’s a gallery of photos from an abandoned seaplane. I’m assuming it’s Russian, as the text from the website appears to be Russian and only something from Russia would look this insane. I don’t know much about the photographer, other than that his name may possibly be Igor. If anyone knows Russian and can translate this, drop a comment!
I’m really having a hard time believing that this thing ever actually made it into the air. I wish I knew what this plane was for, what it’s mission was. It has some really huge sort of tanks or maybe torpedo tubes on top and so many crew areas you could build a hotel inside the thing. It’s really enormous. But the first thing that stands out about this plane is the engine location – eight engines, four per side, mounted on a structure up near the cockpit, in front of the wings. Talk about bizarre!
Update: I’ve learned that this thing is called an Ekranoplan, a type of aircraft that apparently only flies about a meter over the surface. This particular model, the MD-160, was known as ‘The Caspian Monster’. It was meant to be amphibious, and is mainly for naval combat. There are some interesting videos on youtube as well, showing off what the thing is capable of.