A ground effect vehicle (GEV) is one that attains level flight near the surface of the Earth, made possible by a cushion of high-pressure air created by the aerodynamic interaction between the wings and the surface known as ground effect. Also known as a wing-in-ground-effect (WIG) vehicle, flarecraft, sea skimmer, ekranoplan, or wing-in-surface-effect ship (WISE), a GEV can be seen as a transition between a hovercraft and an aircraft. The International Maritime Organization, (IMO), has classified the GEV as a ship.A GEV differs from an aircraft in that it cannot operate without ground effect, so its operating height is limited relative to its wingspan.
In recent years a large number of different GEV types have evolved for both civilian and military use. However, these craft are not in wide use.