SOME THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF AIR CUSHION VEHICLES

EXISTING OPERATIONAL, RESEARCH, AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS ARE REVIEWED; FUTURE APPLICATIONS ARE DESCRIBED; AREAS FOR TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENT ARE NOTED; AND THE PROMISE OF NUCLEAR POWER IS DISCUSSED. TRACKED ACV'S ARE EXCLUDED. CURRENT PESSIMISM OVER THE FUTURE OF ACV'S IS LARGELY UNREALISTIC, AS IT DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE WIDE RANGE OF APPLICATIONS INHERENT IN THE PRINCIPLE NOR THE POSSIBILITY OF TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENT THAT WILL MAKE SUCH VEHICLES NOT ONLY COST-COMPETITIVE BUT ALSO INHERENTLY MORE DESIRABLE THAN OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION FOR GIVEN USES. ACV'S ALREADY CARRY OVER 20% OF TRAFFIC ACROSS THE ENGLISH CHANNEL AND HAVE FOUND A WIDE RANGE OF APPLICATIONS, SUMMARIZED IN A TABLE. SEVERAL PROMISING APPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE ARE INDUSTRIAL LOAD MOVING, BY A 250-TON TRANSPORT CAPABLE OF A 112-TON LOAD; SMALL, PRINCIPALLY INFLATABLE, HOVERCRAFT; OCEAN-GOING FREIGHT CARRIERS CAPABLE OF OCCUPYING THE GAP BETWEEN 30 AND 300 KT/HR; MILITARY CRAFT; AND LANDING GEARS FOR AIRCRAFT AND SPACE SHUTTLES. AREAS WHERE IMPROVEMENTS CAN BE FORESEEN ARE COSTS, SKIRT DESIGN AND FABRICATION, RIDING QUALITY AND SIZE, AND LIFT/DRAG RATIO. IF ACV'S ARE TO BECOME OCEAN-GOING ON A LARGE SCALE, AND ALSO FILL THE GAP BETWEEN 30 AND 300 KT/HR, MEANS OF PROPULSION OTHER THAN THE PROPELLOR MUST BE FOUND, AND POWER PLANTS WITH A REASONABLE WEIGHT/HORSEPOWER RATIO MUST BE INTRODUCED. THE U.S. NAVY HAS BEEN WORKING ON A MIST-JET PROPULSION SYSTEM THAT HAS GREAT PROMISE FOR RESOLVING THE FIRST PROBLEM, WHILE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING SPEEDS UP TO 150 KT/HR HAVE BEEN THE SUBJECT OF PAPER STUDIES. SUCH PLANTS MIGHT HAVE THE EFFECT OF REDUCING THE HIGH SKIRT- MAINTENANCE COSTS, BUT THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THE DESIGN CHANGES NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THIS ARE VERY GREAT.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Hovering Craft & Hydrofoil /UK

    ,    
  • Authors:
    • Trillo, R L
  • Publication Date: 1972-7

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 14-23
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 11
    • Issue Number: 10

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00202245
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 17 1973 12:00AM