It turns out that the idea of a flying "Volga" appeared long before the film "Black lightning". Talking about GAS-16 – one of the most fantastic developments of Soviet engineers.
The development of the next experimental terrain vehicle with aerodynamic unloading began in 1960 at the Gorky automobile plant under the leadership of chief designer A. Smolin. To the project were involved and a group of employees from US and aviation plant named after Ordzhonikidze. The new car was to combine the positive qualities of the car and hovercraft. That is, to be economical and passable.
For movement on the asphalt road in GAS-16 was used a conventional chassis with independent front suspension, similar to what was used on GAZ-21. Under the hood was installed eight-cylinder V-engine from GAZ-13 "Chaika" with a volume of 5.5 liters and output of 195 horsepower. On a flat road the car speeds up to 170 kilometers per hour. Off-road gear which retracted hydraulically driven, and the car was driven by an air bag with two blowers, hovering at a height of about fifteen centimeters above the ground. With the help of cushion GAS 16 could even overcome water obstacles, although created with a dense veil of mist.
The first version of the car was built without the use of propellers. The driver controlled the airflow from the main fans with special blinds. However, tests have shown the inconsistency of this decision: when removal of air from pressure fans in the car a noticeable "SAG", and the maximum speed hardly exceeds 40 km per hour.
The second and more famous modification of a flying "Volga" - GAS-16A was significantly modified compared with its predecessor. The car received two auxiliary propulsion engine of the motorcycle type with a capacity of 28 horsepower each. With PTO gear they rotated two three-bladed screws that were placed in the tail part. This design suggests the possibility of reversing and air rudders on the fan cowl provided excellent handling.
Later GAS-16 got new upgrades, so in the design workshops was born a GAS-16B. Its main difference from previous models was the use of gas turbine engine GTD-350 to drive the blowing fan and main screws. The power of this power unit reached 394 horsepower. While the GTD-350 was the most compact and lightweight engine of this type (of its dry weight amounted to 130.5 pounds) and along with this was able to provide all the energy needs of flying "Volga"; therefore technical and economic performance of GAS-16B were significantly higher than its predecessors.
Although the development could be considered a successfully-held, their place in real life GAZ-16 was never found, and eventually the project was stopped. Was announced a lot of reasons why GAS-16 has no future: the car was complicated in design, bulky, inefficient, had low capacity and a very limited scope. The main disadvantage, from a technical point of view, consisted in the irrational use engine power to create an air cushion under the bottom of the device – which is why later cars with air bags began to be applied in a flexible fence around the perimeter of the vessel. Thus, the project of a flying "Volga" has gone down in history, and to the present day, unfortunately, not survived a single copy. But a fragment of one of the prototypes of GAS-16 and still kept in the Museum of GAS.
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