Friday, February 17, 2012
Blowin in the wind
In years past I considered getting involved in flying ultra lights, one thing that turned me away was the limited fly time due to wind. Recently someone told me they heard you couldn't fly a hovercraft in windy conditions. Interesting I thought a WindSled that couldn't operate in the wind. The truth of the matter is you can fly a hovercraft on windy days, the real question is why? A hovercraft will be affected by the wind, but so is a car or a semi truck each has it's peculiar reaction to the wind. A semi truck can be overturned if the wind is too high, a car may be tossed around by the wind, and the same is true of a hovercraft. So why fly? If your flying for fun and your having to buck a high wind would you bother? Probably not, however if you are a rescue worker and have to fly your hover to perform a rescue then you would and could. The question now become how high of a wind can you fly in? So many questions and so many different answers. A smaller hover may be able to be operated more effectively in a higher wind than a larger hover simply due to the mass you are moving. I own a twin prop 16 foot hover that has a lot of mass, when flying in the wind it works like a giant sail on a boat and the wind pushes it around a lot. My smaller Hoverjet GT a 10 foot hover, flies with relative ease in wind speeds around 20 simply because it has a lot of power with much less mass. Another consideration is the surface you are flying on. If you are on open water the larger hover with it's weight, size, and power, which in the case of my twin prop is 340 HP, plows through the waves with ease, I can fly it in chop of two to three foot waves and just plow through them. My GT is tossed around a lot in that high of waves either climbing them or plowing through them so you find yourself battling the waves and it is not a very fun ride. The point of the matter is I have never been stopped by flying due to the wind I have just chosen at times not to. I would be fairly confident to say you could operate a Hovertechnics hover in winds up to around 50 mph if you had to but again the question is why? If I had to use my hover to rescue someone I would if I was doing it to have fun I doubt I would fly it under a wind much over 20 mph simply because it wouldn't be fun. I can fly my hover in the rain but again why would I? Bottom line is you can fly a hover in the wind but you're going to be blown around by it and remember everything has it's limits.