How to buy a Hovercraft
The Hovercraft Buyers Guide
So you have decided you want buy a hovercraft. This guide has been
designed to help you make the most of your purchase. Before you purchase
a craft you should first understand how a hovercraft
works and even read the section about driving
Before you purchase your craft you need to determine what type you
would like and what size. Hovercraft come in all different shapes and
sizes. If you are looking for a small remote control craft you can check
out the RC Hovercraft Page.
If you are looking to for a large craft for transporting groups of people
then take a look at the Mass
transit page. If you something for search and rescue then look at
Smaller hovercraft can generally be classified as homebuilt or commercial.
1. Homebuilt craft are built buy DIY (do it yourself) builders typically
from a set of plans or kits.
2. Commercial craft are more expensive, usually easier to maintain,
and safer to operate than homebuilt craft.
Hovercraft are typically used for liesure/entertainment or for racing.
Racing and leisure craft can either be homebuilt or commercial.
You need to determine how you craft will be used before you purchase
Commercial versus homebuilt hovercraft.
Cost versus Safety and Reliability. Homebuilt hovercraft are almost
always cheaper than commercial hovercraft. This does not necessarily
mean they are not as good. The quality of the homebuilt craft depends
largely on the skills of the builder. Commercial craft are built in
greater numbers with greater quality control.
Most hovercraft use two engines. One is used for lift and one is used
for thrust. Smaller personal hovercraft and some racing craft only use
one engine. The drawback to having only one engine is that as soon as
the engine has produced enought thrust to lif the craft, the craft will
start moving. This is somewhat problematic at low speeds but it can
With two engines the craft can be hovered by just using the lift engine.
The craft can easiled be moved and it make it easy to load and unload
from a trailer. The drawback is that you use more fuel and there are
two engines to maintain instead of one.
Hovercraft can travel over land and water. The bottom of the craft
must be strong enough to handle hitting rocks and tree roots. Most commercial
hovercraft have a thin skin of fiberglass on the bottom. You need to
make sure the skin is not overlay damaged or punctured. Homebuilt craft
usually have a foam bottom. This foam must be protected with fiberglass
and epoxy or water can get in and damage the craft.
Since most craft are operated over water you need to make sure the
vehicle has proper flotation. If you are buying a commercial craft check
with the manufacturer. When buying a homebuilt craft check to make sure
the craft was built with enough flotation by checking with the original
plans and make sure the flotation has not deteriorated over time.
Occasionally, hovercraft skirts may get damaged so you need to know
how to replace a skirt, or skirt segments, and how difficult it is.
You need to have a skirt repair kit or spare skirt segments when you
take out your hovercraft.
You need to consider how you are going to transport your hovecraft.
Most people don't live on land that they use for hovering. You will
probably need a truck and a trailer depending on the size of your craft.
Smaller craft can be loaded into the back of a truck, but larger craft
will require a trailer. Does the hovercraft you are purchasing come
with a trailer?
There are basically two types of trailers that are used. Simple flat
bed trailers and fly-on trailers. Flat bed trailers require people to
lift the craft on an off, or they can be used with a boat ramp. The
craft can be floated just off just like a boat. A fly-on trailer is
a trailer the either has a ramp that folds down or it has the ability
to tilt. Fly-on trailers allow for a single person to be able to load
Before you are ready to purchase your hovercraft first determine the
1. Size - What size you need. 1, 2, or 15 person craft.
2. Homebuilt or Commercial - Do you want to build your own craft or
3. Engines - One or two engines. This also depends on the size of the
craft and what it will be used for.
4. Construction - What is the craft made from, or if buying a used
craft, check the quality of the construction and look for damage.
5. Transportation - How are you going to transport the craft. Along
with that, where will it be stored.
6. Have fun! - Owning your own hovecraft is a unique experience. A
large number of people still think hovercrafts are pure science fiction.
So be ready to answer questions.
Links to other great