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Hovercraft Operation & Driver Training Manual

Maneuvering on land

Determine departure path, slope, wind, and surface conditions. Set the hovercraft’s rudder position before lifting off. When the craft is located on an incline, during liftoff, the craft will tend to move in the direction of the down slope. The craft must be oriented to allow the thrust to counteract the downward motion unless the craft is to be flown down the slope. Strong winds, gravity, and surface conditions will affect maneuvering. The following should be considered prior to lift off:

  • Rough surfaces increase skirt drag which reduces the tendency to slide

  • Smooth surfaces decrease skirt drag causing the craft to slide more easily.


Climbing slopes

Depending on the power to weight ratio of the craft and the incline of the slope, surface conditions, and the wind’s speed and direction it is best to face the bow up the slope. Thrust can be used to counter movement down the slope.  This is called “hanging on the thrust”.

WARNING: When maneuvering on slopes, be careful to look far enough ahead to make sure there aren’t any obstacles present that the hovercraft might run into on the way down. Higher grade slopes will have more effect on the craft than shallow slopes. Be sure to spend an ample amount of time learning how to safely and accurately navigate this terrain.


Clearing obstacles

The craft can clear 8 - 12 inch obstacles. Hovering over large obstacles should be performed at low speeds, not to exceed 5 - 15mph.  Clearing larger obstacles will require more air flow under the craft to maintain cushion. This is achieved with higher lift fan rpm’s.



Maneuvering around obstacles on a path of travel will be influenced by wind, surface conditions and closing speed:

On open water a turn must be started well before approaching anticipated path. Obstacles should be given as wide a berth as possible. Most turns on plane are performed under 15 mph.  Slower speed turns can be performed by bringing the craft to a complete stop before turning. Be sure the hovercraft is balanced before performing a turn. Unbalanced hovercraft can aggressively list during a turn.

WARNING: Should the hovercraft begin to list outwardly during a turn immediate action must be taken to correct. Either

1) pilot should quickly move his body weight to the inward side of the turn

2) should the pilots body weight not correct the list immediately abort the turn and use the rudders to counter steer canceling the turn and eliminating the list.

On hard packed gravel, asphalt road surfaces or grass; a slope in the surface will cause the craft slide toward the downhill side unless counteracted by thrust.

Operating on loose or dry gravel can be very challenging. Air is continuously escaping from the perimeter of the craft causing dust and debris to be kicked into the air. Visibility can be hindered. The best procedure is to move slowly across these surfaces using just enough lift power to stay on cushion. A low power setting and slow speed will greatly reduce the amount of dust being kicked into the air. Slow speed reduces wear on the skirt and landing skids.

When traveling on ice, lower cushion pressure to drop lightly on skids, acting like a brake and perform the turn to clear the obstacle.

WARNING: In congested areas people should be moved away from the craft to allow a clear area to maneuver.

* This is a sample of the driving portion of our manual. The complete manual is available below

Buy the complete Hovercraft Operations Manual
* Includes Driving Instruction Manual 

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Manual Includes: General Operation, Principals of Operation, Bag Skirts, Definitions, Pre-Flight Inspections, Post Flight Inspections, Cleaning Lexan Windshields, Cockpit Inspections, Safe Loading, Belt Tensioning, Tip Erosion, Cockpit Procedures, Maneuvering on Land, Climbing Slopes, Clearing Obstacles, Turning, Operating on Ice, Operating on Water, Hump Speed, High Speed Maneuvering, Draining the Skirt, Stopping the Craft, Landing the Craft, Cold Weather Operations, Engine Maintenance, Skirt Maintenance, Driveline Maintenance, General Maintenance, Air Speed Maneuvering Chart, Maneuvering RPM

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