Do I live near lots of protected water…two of the biggest lakes in Southern Spain are within 30 minutes drive…and after the winter we’ve just come through they are Full and there is still a few thousand tons of snow up in the high Sierras behind Granada. Could be a few problems when it all melts…
As for the subject aircraft; I’ve been digging the depths of the net all day and it turns out this beast is a Volga 2; built by the same design team that was responsible for the original Ekranoplan air-ship…and lots of them have been sold but mainly in Russia, because at the time, the Cold War was still going on and the Russians couldn’t export outside of ‘friendly’ states and countries. Photographs of the Volga 2 are very few and far between and are nearly all of the subject airframe in it’s much graffitied and wrecked state.
I first saw it in 1985 in Virpazar in Montenegro. At that time it was pretty much in an OK state, operated by the Yugoslav Navy on Lake Skadar to patrol the Albanian Frontier which runs through the lake.
After the fall of Yugoslavia and the segregation of it’s member states, the airframe was lifted out of the water and left. Some entrepreneurial businessman bought it with the intention of operating it as a sightseeing craft on the lake (The lake is huge see Google Earth!)
Unfortunately for him and the subject airframe when Serbia under Milosovich started flexing it’s muscles, the UN imposed sanctions prior to bombing the hell out Belgrade and Montenegro. Montenegro was dragged into the conflict by association and that put an end to tourism for 10 years.
My wife and I were on the first UK tourist flight that arrived in Dubrovnik after the sanctions were lifted and that ten years of no tourism had hit Montenegro very hard. Resorts on the Adriatic Coast that depended on tourism were neglected and rundown and in a lot of cases closed.
For a lot of Brits, including us, Montenegro was an oasis of calm, far from the madding crowds of the Spanish Costa’s and the Greek Islands. It was and still is a beautiful country.
We did the usual touristy things and threw in a side trip to Virpazar and the airframe was still there pretty much as you see it now; stripped windows smashed and covered in graffiti.
I’ve seen on a Russian forum today that the airframe has now gone but no-one seems to know where.
Such a shame to see any airframe wasted, but this one was a bit special…
John aka pp