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Feature: Hop into a Hovercraft

Hovercraft

Image from Gizmag.

An Austrian engineering firm debuted a new type of hovercraft at the Paris Air Show, claiming it can take off and land vertically without using any rotor blades or fixed wings, Popular Science reports. Instead, Austrian Innovative Aeronautical Technology’s (IAT21) D-Dalus “uses four contra-rotating turbines for propulsion, each reaching 2,200 rpm,” that allows “thrust to be fired in any direction, around any axis.” This allows the craft to launch vertically, hover, rotate in any direction and even thrust upwards, holding itself down. The article notes a prototype of the D-Dalus has just completed initial testing.

Meanwhile, inventors are busy designing personal hovercrafts. The Slider Hovercraft, manufactured in New Zealand, is a fully amphibious vehicle that seats two, with a steering and throttle set-up similar to a jet-ski. It reportedly can traverse mud, snow, land, and water. Perfect for a summer getaway to an unpopulated beach!

See the Slider in action in this New Zealand video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ufyaPYjaWQ[/youtube]

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