Airboard

Airboard

The Airboard is the first commercially-marketed single-person hovercraft/hoverboard.

Kevin Inkster, invented the world's first commercial hoverboard scooter, called the Airboard after being inspired by the back to the future movies.

The Airboard operates just like any other hovercraft, a vehicle that is supported and propelled by a cushion of air. In the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics, Inkster showed off his space-age looking Airboard by riding it around the Olympic stadium.

How it's built

The Airboard is a small version of a conventional hovercraft that, ridden while standing up, uses the same air cushion principles to glide just above the ground. However, there are some differences; for instance, the Airboard is unable to hover over water like the hovercraft, and it uses a drive wheel, which touches the ground, to accelerate.

The components

  • Shell - The fiberglass platform used for the rider to stand on
  • Engine and fan - Suspended under the shell to provide the air cushion and thrust
  • Rubber skirt - Used to form an air cushion under the vehicle
  • Friction drive wheel - A wheel that comes into contact with the ground to provide added acceleration
  • Handlebar - Includes two control levers, one for engine/fan speed and one for the friction drive clutch

Specs

Dimensions

  • Diameter: 1.6 m (6 ft 3 in)
  • Height incl. handle: 1.2 m (4 ft 0 in)
  • Deck height: 30 cm (1ft 0 ins)
  • Top speed asphalt: 25 km/h (15 mph) subject to conditions
  • Incline/ascent: 30 degrees
  • Fuel: 5 liter (1.3 US gal) gasoline (85 Octane unleaded)
  • Total payload, including rider: 120 kg (220 lb)
  • Operating time: 1.5 h on full tank

Controlling the Airboard

The fan underneath the shell of the vehicle provides both the cushion of air and the stream of air that exits through the back of the vehicle to provide thrust. To accelerate, the rider shifts his or her weight forward to allow more air to exit the back of the vehicle. By shifting backward, the rider activates a drive wheel, which actually contacts the ground to move the Airboard forward.

The rider controls the Airboard by shifting their weight from side-to-side, similar to how one would ride a skateboard or surfboard. By varying the amount of weight transfer, the driver can make sharp or soft turns. Sliding and 360-degree turns are also possible.

In order to stop, the rider lets off of the accelerator, at which point the board will drift to a stop due to friction.

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