What does a hovercraft do? What is a hovercraft?
A hovercraft flies a few inches off the surface on a cushion of air. It will fly over any relatively smooth surface - water, grass, ice, snow, mudflats, marshes - you can use it all year round for sports, recreation, utility or rescue purposes.
What are hovercraft used for?
Hovercraft are so versatile that their applications are as diverse as the people who use them. They are most often used to reach areas that are inaccessible on foot or by conventional vehicles.
How does a hovercraft work?
The engine drives a fan which creates thrust to drive the hovercraft forward. Part of the fan thrust is ducted through the double skin hull to lift the craft off the surface on a cushion of air. This lift air is contained under the craft by flexible segmented skirts which keep the air cushion pressure up. Bigger models have twin fans and bigger engines.
How fast will the hovercraft go?
This depends on the surface conditions you are flying over. Ice is a very efficient surface and the craft will travel 60 miles an hour (96kph) or more. Long grass is porous and a lot of the lift air is lost so that the hoverheight is lower, the skirt drag is greater and the vehicle may only travel around 20 mph (32 kph). Generally smooth surfaces are best. It performs very well on water, snow, ice mud flats, sand bars, etc.
Is it difficult to drive?
You can learn basic operations in less than half a day, but like windsurfing or mountain skiing you get better at it with practice. Of course there is lots of fancy footwork to learn before you become a world champion.
We offer hovercraft operator training programs at our factory in Michigan. Flying over water is quite different from ice or snow or grass. Wind is an important factor because you are actually flying. Maneuverability varies over different surfaces and learning to judge terrain before you reach it requires practice.
Our skilled instructors can teach users and dealer staff how to get the most out of this exciting product.
How do you steer or stop?
The craft is steered by a handle bar which controls the air rudders behind the fan. In the smaller models, this is combined with leaning the body-weight right or left to steer. As there is no hard contact with the ground, steering feels more like a helicopter than a car. To stop you just slow down the engine and the craft settles to the surface and stops. For stopping on ice, it is advisable to do a 180 degree turn and use the fan as a brake, a method that works equally well on all surfaces.
Are these like the airboats in Florida?
Similar, but the air boats do not fly above the surface as a hovercraft does and of course they cannot go any distance over land. The Hovertechnics' hovercraft has a smaller engine and makes less noise.
Are hovercraft noisy?
Decibel levels vary from about 85 dbA for single-fan hovercraft to 100 dbA for the twin-fan hovercraft
on a 50 ft / 15 meter fly-by.
It is recommended for passengers and crew to wear hearing protection at all times.
Does the hovercraft float?
The double hull in our hovercraft has a polyurethane foam liner between the inner and outer hull structure so that when the engine is switched off the hovercraft has full floatation for its rated payload. In choppy conditions, some water may enter the outer hull but this will be quickly blown out when the engine is restarted or the bilge pump is operated.
How safe is a hovercraft?
Over the hovercraft’s half-century of existence, it has proven to be quite possibly the safest vehicle ever built. Unlike boats, the Neoteric Hovertrek hull is filled with US Coast Guard-approved closed-cell foam, which prevents sinking. Because they travel above the surface on a cushion of air, hovercraft fly over obstacles rather than colliding with them. As an example, Hovertrek can even fly over eggs without cracking them! And because hovercraft tend to operate where no other vehicle can go, the risk of vehicle-to-vehicle crashes is extremely low.
Do I need to register a hovercraft?
In the USA, a hovercraft must be registered as a boat and in some states also as an off-road vehicle.
How can I meet other hovercraft owners? How can I find out about hovercraft racing and other hovercraft events?
You can join the Hoverclub of America for a nominal annual fee. The Hoverclub sends out newsletters informing members of races and other activities. Check out their website at http://www.hoverclubofamerica.org.
Do I need insurance to operate a hovercraft?
Some people add hovercraft to their Home Owner's Insurance. It's important to call it a 'boat' and not a 'hovercraft' when talking to insurance companies. Legally, hovercraft are boats, and under US Federal Law, Hovertechnics Hovercraft, Inc. is considered to be a boat manufacturer. Keep in mind that it will always be less costly to add your hovercraft insurance to an existing policy or policies than it would be to purchase a stand-alone policy.
Where can I find a company or agent who sells hovercraft insurance?
Markel American Insurance
P.O. Box 906 Pewaukee, WI 53072-09066
800-236-9283 (ask for Tiffany)