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I spent part of the day learning to control a one-person hovercraft

m-hover1I enjoyed an enthralling experience yesterday learning to fly (drive?) hovercraft.  I went to Hovercraft Adventures near Sandwich in Kent to try out their one-person hovercraft.  It was a bright and sunny day but there had been rain and the ground was very muddy.  First I was taught the basics.  You kneel upright, neither forward not back.  m-hover4There are handlebars to control the air rudder, and a throttle where the brake would be on a bicycle.  Without the traction of a sea rudder or any tyres, you use the body to steer, leaning hard left or right and using the handlebars to direct the rudder behind the fan.  Steering is slow to respond so you have to think ahead for a turn.  You start by throttling up, whereupon the raft rises into its rubber skirt and moves forward.  You brake by simply releasing the throttle, making the craft slide to a halt and settling back down.  Very few of the first timers managed the tight turn on the circuit without overshooting into the thick grass.  All in all it was fantastic fun, though the mud did spray up at times.   Fortunately I’d been forewarned about it and dressed accordingly.

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