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June 18, 2015

By hovercraft.org

9 seater hovercraft

9 Seater Hovercraft

Check on-water payload when determining hovercraft seating capacity

When we set out the design objectives for the new Carbon Infinity 120HP Turbo, we knew that the lightweight properties of Carbon Fibre / Kevlar / and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) would create an impressive payload capability. We conservatively estimated that the lightweight properties of carbon fibre would create a payload of 450 Kgs or 995 pounds, but in tests and during training for rescue organisations and army personnel, we have discovered that we can lift far more weight, so have modified the specifications to state 500 Kgs from on-water start (half a tonne in weight)

Unofficially it will do more, but we always set a safety margin. If you contact hovercraft manufacturers and ask them how many seats a hovercraft has – a word to the wise – hovercraft carry less weight when starting on water, so hovercraft payload should always be rated for on-land payload and on-water payload; expect the on-land payload to be about 50% better than the payload capability for starting on water.

Some hovercraft suppliers forget to mention this point, but all hovercraft create a pressure wave when starting on water called the Hump, and they need to overcome this wave, or you may have to swim back home – a point worth mentioning we think. Given the fact that most people expect to hover home safely, always check the on-water payload, never rely on only the on-land payload, and never ask how many seats. If a hovercraft supplier forgets to publish the on-water payload capability, be suspicious.

The Hov Pod Carbon Infinity has an on-water payload of half a tonne, or 500 Kgs. In tests and video above we actually had a weight load overloaded by 50kg and in fact had 550kg payload. Customers have asked for more, but we set a safety factor to allow for 10% back from absolute capacity on water, and the reason we do that is weather conditions can have an impact. The other factor affecting whether a hovercraft is a 7-seater, 8-seater or 9-seater hovercraft is how heavy the passengers are. Some people eat more pies than other people, and children are generally lighter, so if using the hovercraft for hovercraft experience rental rides, this is an important factor.

If you take more fuel, each litre weighs one Kg, each US gallon weighs 8.3 pounds. On smooth ice, sand or mud we have tested craft taking up to 9 people and if starting from land, the Hov Pod Carbon Infinity 120HP Turbo will lift 675 Kgs or 1491 pounds. No Hump.

Power to weight and value for money

When choosing a hovercraft, one might be tempted to think they are all pretty much the same, some look prettier than others. But you need to look beyond how pretty products look. Glass fibre can look pretty but cracks easily when traveling over rough ground, so this could result in an expensive repair job at best, at worst, no way of getting home. Hovercraft should never be consider water based only vehicles.

By comparing purchase price by on-water payload, you can easily calculate the cost per pound of capability, so for example, if a hovercraft cost $10,000 and has an on water payload of 718 pounds, the cost per pound of lift is $13.92.

Safety considerations

Many hovercraft suppliers leave off a rear fan guard, to try improve their payload capability – fan guards slow down duct air throughput, and reduce the efficiency, so by removing the fan guard, some suppliers can save money by fitting cheaper less powerful engines. Racing hovercraft cut corners, jeopardizing safety to win races. Try explaining that safety compromise rationale to a child with no fingers, no factory inspector would allow for a unguarded machine with fast moving fan blades to rotate at 2000 rpm in a public space, and neither should you!

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