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December 20, 2013

By hovercraft.org

How does a hovercraft work?

How does a hovercraft work?

Below is a video explaining how a hovercraft works, created by Griffon Hovercraft.

 

Large hovercraft have separate lift and thrust fans, so this requires separate engines and drive systems, so the pilot will need separate controls to control lift and thrust.

Personal hovercraft design may prefer the single engine approach, sometimes referred to as an integrated design. Air is generated by one fan, and the air is used for both lift and thrust, using an air splitter to divert the air – 25% of the air generated by the fans is diverted down to escape from the skirts to give lift, 75% of the air is diverted through the rear of the duct to give thrust.

The advantage of the single engine hovercraft design is simplicity of operation and less weight, since only one engine is required. Hovercraft are very weight sensitive, so this is an important aspect of leisure hovercraft design.

Hovercraft skirts

The air diverted to the skirts is allowed to escape through a series of holes. The Hov Pod Hovercraft has 65 different segmented skirts, (65 escape holes) in 4 different shapes, each shape type controls the flow of the air in a different way. The front skirt shapes Type A and Type B form part of the anti-plow design, to prevent the hovercraft from plowing in, a term to describe a hovercraft’s tendency to nose-dive on water. The anti-plow hovercraft skirt design minimises the likelihood of a Hov Pod hovercraft plowing into the water. (see video on home page to see how Hov Pod make hovercraft)

Some leisure hovercraft have two engines, with the lift engine situated at the front of the craft. This design can expose the lift fans to a sudden intake of water to stop lift – at speed this can be dangerous, since the heavy weight of the engine in the front of the hovercraft may cause it to plow-in to the surface and suddenly stop, throwing the driver, passenger and contents violently forwards. No lift, but continual thrust is a recipe for disaster, and might ruin your marriage prospects.

Hovercraft skirt material

Hovercraft fly over any surface, and skirts are especially prone to wear from frequent use over ice, tarmac or concrete. Sand is particularly abrasive, as used for sand blasting.

Hov Pod Hovercraft skirts are manufactured from polyurethane coated nylon. Early ACX models had neoprene coated nylon fitted, but this material degrades in sunlight due to UV degradation. Hov Pod then tried Hypalon, but found that material tears too easily.

The segmented skirt design minimizes the cost of replacement – in the past, some hovercraft had a one piece design, so once damage occurred, the whole skirt needed to be replaced. Segmented skirts can easily be replaced  – just the damaged section can be replaced, so this minimizes the cost of replacement. Since choosing polyurethane coated nylon,  skirt replacement frequency fell by 95%, so instead of skirt replacement becoming a consumable replacement cost, customers use the original set for years before needing to replace one or two as required.  See link to videos showing hovercraft skirt durability – http://hovercraft-durability.blogspot.co.uk

Hovercraft skirt design

Hovercraft Skirt Design

 

 

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