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All about hovercraft. Where to see hovercraft, where to get hovercraft, buy hovercraft and build hovercraft. Hovercraft applications, hovercraft links, hovercraft instructions and hovercraft information. Hovercraft Clubs.




Introduction to hovercraft and ACV


Hovercraft, as we know them today, have been around for about half a century, since the 1950's, but have somehow never managed to get into the mainstream use of transportation.

This has been for various reasons. Its inability for precise manoeuvring control and its relatively high maintenance and noise levels compared to the automobile have been sufficiently difficult to overcome to keep the air cushion vehicle at the fringe of modern transport.

It also came along well over fifty years after the automobile was accepted as the standard means of transport in its many guises as car, truck, recreation vehicle and so forth.

The fact that hovercraft technology was classified as secret after World War 2 (see Hovercraft History) also didn't encourage it into the mainstream of vehicle construction companies. And even after it became declassified in the 1960's problems with wear and tear of the rubber skirt, salt intake by the fans and other technical difficulties all contributed to keep the hovercraft and other ai cushion vehicles in the domain of specialised vehicles and hobbyists. (See Hovercraft Construction.)

Furthermore, the inability of governments to classify the air cushion vehicle - it's neither a car nor a boat, apparently, although it is usually considered a boat - didn't make it easier for general acceptance.

That is not to say that its independence from established roads and the need for a smooth road surface is not one of these reasons as well. It is easy to imagine that road construction companies as well as (local) governments, law enforcement agencies and the military would be against such a vehicle. But is it justified?

In our overcrowded road systems strict order and driving regulations are necessary. Having everyone drive in vehicles, like hovercraft, that can go just about anywhere would not only complicate traffic tremendously, it could also cause irreversible damage to our already struggling environment.

But that is only one side of the argument. Modern cars, especially the all-terrain vehicles that are so popular nowadays, have almost the same ability as do hovercraft; to go most anywhere outside the road system. And so do motorcycles and other off-road vehicles. More than that even because where hovercraft have difficulty, as with slopes, ATV's and motorcycles do not.

Trillions of dollars could have been saved on expensive road surfaces and maintenance worldwide if hovercraft had been adopted as the standard transport vehicle instead of the car. But again, the road construction companies would have been against such a development. And they do have a powerful voice in many places.

Hovercraft work perfectly well on grass, imagine if all the highways and roads we have were made of grass instead of concrete and asphalt? Just add a simple attachment at the bottom and we'd be cutting the grass as we travel over it. 

Hovercraft also have difficulty on steep slopes, something which a wheeled or cater pillared vehicle has less or no problem with.

But if as much money was spent on research and development of hovercraft as is being spent on regular road vehicles, these problems too would have been a thing of the past long ago.

Either way, hovercraft enthusiasts have not given up their struggle to make this vehicle a popular one, even if only for recreational use and, since a decade or two, hovercraft have been widely used by the military (see Military Hovercraft) and commercial companies such as boat ferries, rescue vehicles and park ranger transport, to name but a few (see Hovercraft in Use).

It would certainly cut down on water pollution, noise and injury to water surface animals if hovercraft and other air cushion vehicles were used instead of motorboats in places such as Florida and other recreational boating areas.

And, as the picture shows, applying hovercraft and other air cushion vehicles for public and commercial transportation purposes is a definite option. So what is keeping the world at large from upgrading from the car to hovercraft?


Hovercraft and WIG, the past, present and future

The Eska-1 early WIG-craft - Links999 hovercraft and WIG.
The Eska-2, early Wing in Ground Effect plane.

The Aerocon. An artist impression of future transportation. Links999.

The Aerocon, a WIG-craft (Wing-In-Ground effect), in an artist's impression of future transportation.

The Hovershuttle - hovercraft at its best - Links999 hovercraft introduction.
The Hovershuttle, modern transport at low ecological impact and cost.

Alura Air-Floater - hoverpads for the city - hovercraft and air cushion vehicles Links999.
The Alura Air-Floater. Float your way to work.

SeaWings - WIG-craft in flight.

The many hovercraft clubs around the world prove that this air cushion vehicle is only beginning its rise to popularity (see Hovercraft Clubs), and the ready availability of plans (see Hovercraft Schematics) and materials (see Hovercraft Materials and Kits) to construct your own hovercraft show that there is a growing interest in this modern technology the world over.

The last ten years has seen a significant increase in the construction and use of air cushion and WIG-craft with many of the old difficulties solved or greatly improved. Modern air cushion vehicles are more trustworthy, more controllable, are fuel-efficient and eco-friendly and often low-cost compared to the automobile.

And even if you can't get a full-sized hovercraft for your personal enjoyment, there's no need to go without this fun pastime. Model sized hovercraft are very popular (see Model Size Hovercraft) as a remote control hobby.

After the step for those of us who live in town rather than the great outdoors there is now an alternative - the Hoverpad (See Hovercraft News and Development).

Besides, owning a hovercraft, you don't need an ATV and a boat to enjoy both off road and water, and at a fraction of the cost with a lot more fun!

Hovercraft definitions 

hov·er·craft Pronunciation: -v&r-"kraft
Function: noun Date: 1959
: a vehicle that is supported above the surface of land or water by a cushion of air produced by downwardly directed fans
Source: Merriam Webster 
Also called GROUND-EFFECT MACHINE, or HOVERCRAFT, any of the machines characterized by movement in which a significant portion of the weight is supported by forces arising from air pressures developed around the craft, as a result of which they hover in close proximity to the Earth's surface. It is this proximity to the surface that chiefly distinguishes such craft from aircraft, which derive their lift from aerodynamic forces created by movement through the air.

Two main classes of air-cushion vehicles exist: those that generate their own pressure differential irrespective of forward speed; and those, more closely related to true aircraft, that require forward speed before the pressure differential can be generated. The former are classed as aerostatic craft (ACVs); the latter are called aerodynamic ground-effect machines (GEMs).
: Encyclopedia Britannica 


Hovercraft glossary

The following is a list of terms and abbreviations relating to hovercraft and other air cushion vehicles, their construction and use.

Hovercraft glossary

AC Aerostatic Craft
AGEC Aerodynamic Ground Effect Craft
GEM Aerodynamic Ground effect Machines
GRP Glass Reinforced Plastic
LCAC Landing Craft, Air Cushion
SEV Surface Effect Vehicle
WIG Wing In Ground effect
WISE Wing In Surface Effect Craft

Hovercraft Books and Information on construction, design and other issues


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