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Old 28th March 2013, 15:17   #1
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Default Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

How's this for off-roading?
That's me on my company's Hovercraft on the ECR.
The drive was fun but a lot of sand gets whipped about.
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Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR-20130325-17.19.jpg  

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Old 30th March 2013, 10:04   #2
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Default re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Driving something on wheels is fun. But how about driving something that's not on wheels?

As a young boy, I saw Luke Skywalker skimming across the planet Tattooine in Star Wars. George Lucas kindled the imagination of million of kids like me around the world.

A ride without wheels!

Don't have to worry about the bumps and ditches in the road. No friction, No brakes!

I got to live my childhood dream this week.

I drove a Hovercraft.

No wheels, No friction, don't have to worry about the bumps and ditches in the road. Hey even the odd dog and the ubiquitous rubbish on our roads do not matter.

Simply float on the air. Literally speaking, an air cushion.

My company has a Hovercraft. A 2-seater, HDPE body, with a single Nylon fan and Rotax 503 52hp engine and Polyurethane Nylon Skirts.

The operation is quite simple. Even a child could do it. Now having said that, let me tell you that driving one of these noisemakers is a totally different ballgame.

Initial checks are made for coupling alignment, belt tensions, loose objects, full gas tanks, safety ripcords, eye protection, etc.

A push button start gets the engine revving. Squeeze the throttle more and she floats. That's the moment you lose your sense of balance.

Its probably easier to ride a horse. At least the horse is standing on the ground.

I could compare it to a boat ride though. Come to think of it. Yes, its like riding a boat.

The needle has to be pushed beyond 5000revs for the thrust of the fan to take effect. And then the fun begins.

As long as you are on a straight path without any obstacles, it is smooth sailing.

If there is some bump or a ditch or something else over which you decide to ride, the she bucks up and down giving you a sense of momentary weightlessness.

But that is alright too as she steadies quite smartly.

The trouble arises when you have to take a turn. Remember, no friction. How the heck do you turn this thing?

The thrust is behind you, The steering handle is connected to twin rudder flaps behind the fan which direct the air flow. But the turn has a bodily effect. Not only is there a 'yaw' but also a 'heel'. Both motions together tend to flip over the craft, and you with it.

The trick is to 'Lean into the turn'. Keeps the craft from flipping over.

It requires a great deal of dexterity to accomplish a tight turn as the tail can swing the other way once she has turned. So, now you have to counter this by turning the other way.

By the time I got the hang of it, I was fully covered in fine dust. And it does get noisy.

Dusty, Noisy, but outright FUN.

I shall be doing this regularly now.

My company owns her. We use it for Demo purposes and we also rent it out to those who do surveys, surveillance, shallow water studies, marshland access, etc. We also sell it. We are distributors for the manufacturer HovPod in India.

A small video of me manoeuvring the craft.
Attached Thumbnails
Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR-trailer.jpg  

Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR-test-run.jpg  

Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR-me-luke-skywalker.jpg  

Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR-hovpod-exhibition.jpg  


Last edited by aabidansari : 30th March 2013 at 10:05.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 13:04   #3
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Offroading Section Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd April 2013, 13:28   #4
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

This definitely awesome. Can we Chennai Team Bhpians get a sneak preview of this soon ? At least I would be interested in this as I have never ridden / driven / sailed a hovercraft.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 13:48   #5
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Amazing - Do count me 2nd :-). This would probably be the biggest draw for the next Chennai meet if it can be organised !
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Old 2nd April 2013, 13:55   #6
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Wow, this is nice. But where is the video?
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Old 2nd April 2013, 13:58   #7
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

This is amazing. We Delhi-wallahs can offer the Yamuna beach/ the Gurgaon aravalli ranges to you

Give me a shout when you decide to bring it up north.

Cheers,
Tapish
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Old 2nd April 2013, 15:26   #8
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Enthusiasm over the unusual apart, can this handle a 30 foot climb UP or DOWN, on over a 100% gradient? If not, Off-Roading with this is pointless.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 15:31   #9
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

As long as it moves, keep 'em coming. Cars, bikes, buses, trucks, ships, kayaks, planes and now a hovercraft.

Wondering what's next on TBhp!!

aabidansari,
How much does this thing cost?
And the quintessential - Kitna deti hain? (what's the mileage)
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Old 2nd April 2013, 15:45   #10
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

So whats the principle on which a HC operates?

How does it work?

--R
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Old 2nd April 2013, 15:52   #11
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Hovercraft experience in Chennai. Count me in mate

Would definitely want to experience the fun of flying on the sand
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Old 2nd April 2013, 17:27   #12
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Quote:
Originally Posted by hillram View Post
This definitely awesome. Can we Chennai Team Bhpians get a sneak preview of this soon ? At least I would be interested in this as I have never ridden / driven / sailed a hovercraft.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjcherian View Post
Amazing - Do count me 2nd :-). This would probably be the biggest draw for the next Chennai meet if it can be organised !
Sure buddy. Give me some time to work on it.

The outing needs to be properly planned. It's difficult to find a good beach location on ECR where we can do proper runs. I did this near Composer Ilayaraja's beachfront bungalow at Uthandi. I had some curious police observers there too.

I shall keep you all in the loop - hillram, sjcherian, anachronix, and all other local tbhpians.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Wow, this is nice. But where is the video?
I tried uploading the video which is about 31MB but it kept hanging. Can you please guide me on how to do this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapish View Post
This is amazing. We Delhi-wallahs can offer the Yamuna beach/ the Gurgaon aravalli ranges to you

Give me a shout when you decide to bring it up north.

Cheers,
Tapish
We had demonstrated this last year in Delhi in Defense Expo Mar 2012. We may do so sometime again. Shall let you guys know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
Enthusiasm over the unusual apart, can this handle a 30 foot climb UP or DOWN, on over a 100% gradient? If not, Off-Roading with this is pointless.
Hmmmm...I have not tried this out yet. Was busy getting the hang of driving this on even ground. Next time I shall try the gradient and let you know. But I think it is a no go. More than an Off-roader, it is an all-terrain vehicle. It may not do gradients but it can skim over water, mud, marshes, swamps, dirt, and other surfaces!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lsp View Post
As long as it moves, keep 'em coming. Cars, bikes, buses, trucks, ships, kayaks, planes and now a hovercraft.

Wondering what's next on TBhp!!

aabidansari,
How much does this thing cost?
And the quintessential - Kitna deti hain? (what's the mileage)
It costs approx 30 lakhs. The mileage is questionable. One can run it for 2 hrs on 25 ltrs approx. @ 5000/6000 rpm. So the question 'kitna deti hai' becomes a bit irrelevant; a more appropriate question would be 'kitna door jayegi?'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragul View Post
So whats the principle on which a HC operates?

How does it work?

--R
Operation is relatively simple. The thrust of the fan is partly diverted under the body for the 'Lift' and the rest is used for the 'Push'. The more the fan speed, the greater the lift and forward movement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronix View Post
Hovercraft experience in Chennai. Count me in mate

Would definitely want to experience the fun of flying on the sand
Sure mate!

Thanx to all for the responses. I was hesitant to post the article first but seeing the good response, I would like to know if I can post about my escapades on our Motor-Yatch and Seabird Class boat as well. I do that too often.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 18:19   #13
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Quote:
Originally Posted by aabidansari View Post
I tried uploading the video which is about 31MB but it kept hanging. Can you please guide me on how to do this?
Try uploading the video to Youtube under your own id(please create one if you need). Youtube it will compress the video file size. Download that compressed file and upload here.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 18:43   #14
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Quote:
Originally Posted by aabidansari View Post
How's this for off-roading?
That's me on my company's Hovercraft on the ECR.
The drive was fun but a lot of sand gets whipped about.
Please add me to the list. And since after second (Cherian Sir), no one continued with the numbers. So I am third in case if the ride is organized. It looks awesome and riding it would just pump up the enthusiasm.

Keep us posted and updated Aabidansari sir.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 18:57   #15
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Default Re: Off-Roading with a Hovercraft @ ECR

Quote:
Originally Posted by aabidansari View Post
It costs approx 30 lakhs. The mileage is questionable. One can run it for 2 hrs on 25 ltrs approx. @ 5000/6000 rpm. So the question 'kitna deti hai' becomes a bit irrelevant; a more appropriate question would be 'kitna door jayegi?'.
OK sir. You tell me kitna door jayegi and I will do the math.

Kitna Door Jayegi(in kms)/25 = Kitna deti hain

BTW just thought of a couple of more things:-
What fuel are you using?
Under ideal conditions, how fast can it go?
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