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A hovercraft is simply a vehicle which floats above the surface on a cushion of air supplied by a fan. The air cushion is kept from escaping from under the hovercraft by the "skirt". The skirt is attached to the outer edge of the hovercraft and is usually made from a thin plastic coated fabric. The air cushion makes the hovercraft essentially frictionless - it's just like driving a car on ice!
Because they float above the surface, hovercraft are pushed along by blowing air backwards using a fan or a propeller. They need very little power as the air cushion has removed any friction. Steering is achieved using rudders mounted in the airflow from the fan or propeller.
There are many different designs of hovercraft but they all work in the same basic way. Some have a single fan and engine which supply both cushion and thrust air, Others have a separate lift fan and thrust fan or propeller and one or two engines.
Last edited by webadmin; 21-Feb-09 at 10:23 AM.