From Our Editors
Hovercrafts are never short on usefulness. The US Navy uses them for transportation, captains in Australia, Asia, and England use them as ferries, and near Alaska they often glide over ice between oil rigs. For Captain Guven Sen, hovercrafts are useful for tours of Florida's coastal waterways. He pilots the sleek florescent-yellow Lady Hawke—powered by a 300-horsepower diesel engine, dual axial flow fans, and fixed-pitch duct propellers—at speeds up to 40 knots over shallow waterways and meandering sandbars. Sculpted from durable, lightweight fiberglass, an enclosed hull and cockpit keep passengers safe from getting hit by ocean spray and strongly worded messages in bottles as they glide on an air cushion over the water surface.
On each eco-friendly tour, Guven uses a PA system to explain the workings of the craft's engines, point out passing dolphins and protected alligators, and gleefully showcase his machine's tricks. He turns water into a wall of mist as he whips riders through spins and 360-degree turns. On some occasions, passing dolphins have even decided to play with the hovercraft, swimming alongside and under the air cushion and performing tricks in full view of passengers. When not leading tours, Guven leases out his services for private excursions or the occasional music video. Hover Tours' sister company, Dragonflight Hovercraft, recently built another larger, lightweight FRP composite hovercraft as a prototype to one day glide alongside the Lady Hawke.