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The Future of Hovercraft

The Future of Hovercraft

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Published by hovpod6214
50 years from now, we will all be driving hovercraft
50 years from now, we will all be driving hovercraft

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Published by: hovpod6214 on Mar 24, 2010
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08/23/2012

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The Future of HovercraftHovercraft were invented 50 years ago, yet according to the media,many people think that hovercraft vanished about 20 years later. Thismisconception once again proves that you should never believe whatyou read in the newspapers. As Mark Twain might have said “Thereports of the death of hovercraft are greatly exaggerated"Hovercraft production continues to increase and new manufacturingmethods and materials are reducing the cost of ownership to make massadoption more likely. Hovercraft are now more affordable and smallerversions make leisure ownership possible. 50 years from now, withseawaters rising as a result of global warming, perhaps we will alldrive hovercraft instead of cars.50 years from now, flooding will be more common, and hovercraft willbe necessary to assist rescue operations. More people will get cutoff by rising tides, and will need rescuing from mud and quicksand.As winter temperatures rise, ice will thin, and use of snowmobilesover icy lakes will become even more precarious, as will skating onthin ice.Higher water levels are changing the landscape and maps are beingrevised to ensure their accuracy against satellite and GPS data. Aswe have seen this year, flooding can cause expensive damage andseriously disrupt our lives. The commuter hovercraft might be morepractical than the car for getting to work. It will be quicker totake the hovercraft to work and cross the lake or river than take thecar along congested roads.In trying to predict future trends, commentators have to considerchanging circumstances; improvements in affordability of hovercraftwill aid mass adoption. For the hovercraft to be universallyaccepted, we need to look at developments that are taking place withsmaller hovercraft. As with the motorcar, affordability is the key tomass adoption.Large hovercraft remain expensive, so mass adoption of hovercraftwill be driven by the development and affordability of personalleisure hovercraft. These smaller hovercraft versions are alreadystarting to make a big impact on commercial activities such asrescue, commercial surveying etc.Leisure hovercraft are fun to fly, comfortable to drive with inbuiltair suspension and easy to operate. Simply twist the throttle, andfeel the air inflate the hovercraft skirt, to gently raise you up andthrust you forward on your friction-free journey of exploration.Experience the freedom of flying down the beach or slipway, and enjoythe smooth transition from land over water. Imagine the freedom ofuse 24/7; with no restrictions imposed by low tide, you just fly outto sea, over the mud or sand.Boat and Jet Ski owners await the tide, and need to plan theirvoyages according to the restrictions imposed by tidal streams. Boatowners need to watch out for submerged rocks and coral, hovercraftowners fear not, as hovercraft have no propellers to get damaged;they just fly out over the mud or sand whenever they like. It takesonly a short time for users to get the feeling and control of antigravitational flight. Personal hovercraft can travel at speeds of upto 40 miles per hour, race craft go even faster, but with frictionfree transport, any small hovercraft will guarantee the hover
 
experience adrenalin rush. A number of entrepreneurial operators nowoffer Hovercraft experience days to passengers to experience water toland transitions, or allow one to master the controls of leisurehovercraft.UK based manufacturer Reaction International Ltd is currentlyenjoying considerable success with a small 3-person hovercraft knownas the Hov Pod. (www.hovpod.com)All hovercraft are weight dependent, and in the past, hobbyists andenthusiasts have raced each other on weekends on home made craft madefrom very thin GRP to reduce weight to a minimum. Race hovercraft canachieve speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, but lightweightconstruction often compromises durability, so the Hov Pod hull isdesigned principally for the commercial & leisure market from amaterial known as HDPE, or High Density Polyethylene.New lightweight engine developments make leisure hovercraft suitablefor use as rescue hovercraft for flooded ground, also ice and mudrescue. Every year people succumb to drowning and hypothermia afterfalling through the ice. Accidents occur through ice fishing, or theuse of snowmobiles traveling over thin ice (global warming affectsice thickness). In colder climates, dog owners regularly throw sticksfor their poops to trustingly fetch from iced over lakes. Alas, toofrequently, dog owners routinely fall through the ice trying to savetheir furry friends, as emotion overcomes logic. (Humans are usuallyheavier than dogs so more likely to fall through the ice) Rescueboats are pretty useless on ice and mud, and in cold conditions,hypothermia is a real danger, as it slows your senses and mobility.Small hovercraft are quickly able to reach victims as they hoverabove any flat surface, and do so without exposing rescuers to theperils that face the victims. (rescue them, don’t join them)Rescue boats also fail during flooding, since propellers get snarledon submerged street furniture and wire fences straddled acrossfields. Hovercraft have no propellers so have no problems withsubmerged obstacles during flooding emergencies, in fact Hovercraftare happy traveling over any flat surface.Small hovercraft are easier to transport than their larger cousins,so are in great demand for homeland security patrols to protectcitizens from acts of terrorism and cross border incursions such asthe recent terrorist activities in Mumbai. Smaller patrol hovercraftdeployed over a larger area can be more effective than one or twolarger patrol craft. Hovercraft have no propellers to get snagged onthe roots of mangrove trees. Hovercraft can patrol coastal regions toprevent incursions from drug and people traffickers. Hovercraft areless likely to set off mines, and provide a far more stable platformcompared to boats; this is useful when firing off warning shots.Will hovercraft still be around 50 years from now? We certainly thinkso. New technology provides techniques such as computer-aided-designto engineer parts with tolerances far tighter than possible 50 yearsago. Computers communicate with robotic CNC machinery to produce theengineering parts to extremely tight tolerances to reduce vibrationand wear and reduce noise. Regulators in some countries continue totry classifying hovercraft as boats or planes (You it mean it flieslike a plane, but it goes on the water?) But there is no turning backfor the hovercraft, they are here to stay, and news of their terminaldemise by the media may be a little inaccurate and ignorant of the

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