Saturday, March 26, 2011

To Own The River

One of the worst things you can do as a hover pilot is to do something that causes you to run into something and over the years I’ve done my share of running into something so I’ve learned to resist the temptation to show off and think through what I’m about to do this was no exception. I wanted to check and make sure nothing was close to where I was about to make a turn and I wanted to make sure as I did I didn’t blow someone or something away with the 120 mile per hour wind that pumps off the back side of the prop, and in this case the twin prop. After surveying my surroundings I determined that my maneuver would be a simple low RPM 360 degree spin just to get a feel for what we could do in tight quarters with this big hovercraft. The Hovertour 800 performed beautifully and completed the turn. I have to tell you I was impressed with the agility of this big twin prop. On ice this hover takes on characteristics that it simply cannot have on water due to the surface limitations. What I mean by that is the effect of the hover on water is different than it is on ice air pushing down on water causes the surface to give but on ice the hardness of the surfaces causes the hover to give. In hovering what that means is increased performance. On water you have to overcome the hump, which is the wave of water that is pushed out from under the hovercraft when you blow air across the surface of the water. The hover on ice and land does not have this to overcome so it performs better. The ideal surface is either smooth ice or heavy snow. Both of these surfaces give you maximum lift with minimal resistance. The result is high cushion with faster speeds. A hover that will do 40 on water will do approximately 60-70 on ice if there is no wind resistance. Today was smooth ice moderate wind so I knew we were in for a pretty interesting day.

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