Ground Effect Vehicles
The airflow around the wing of an aircraft flying in close proximity to the ground differs greatly in comparison to the airflow around a wing of an aircraft flying at altitude. The presence of the ground creates a significant aerodynamic affect that can increase lift without a drag penalty, consequently improving the aerodynamic efficiency.
This phenomenon is known as in-ground effect and is the basis for craft known as WIG (Wing-In-Ground-effect), GEV (Ground Effect Vehicles) or by the Russian term Ekranoplan. These craft are fascinating, neither conventional aircraft nor surface vessel. They fly within metres of the surface, typically water, at speeds far exceeding those of a normal surface vessel. There are of course limitations to GEVs.
This web page primarily is concerned with the aerodynamics of GEVs through a combination of literature reviews and my personal research using CFD (computational fluid dynamics).