The folks at Universal Hovercraft can't be left alone with a hovercraft for very long before they add on wings! They turned a GH-2 into a Wing-In-Ground-Effect machine - a smaller version of their full-sized winged hovercraft. Yes, it really worked!
This exciting prototype illustrates how the GH model hovercraft kits offer endless possibiilties for experimentation!
A wing in ground effect machine ,or "WIG" for short, flies just above the ground (and just a bit higher than a normal hovercraft). A WIG is supported by an air cushion which is created when a wing moves quickly very close to the ground. When a WIG is supported by its air cushion, it requires less power to fly than a conventional airplane. Have you ever noticed a calm floating feeling just before landing in an airliner? That's the feeling of the airplane experiencing ground effect. As the plane approaches the ground, it suddenly requires less power to keep flying, and until the pilot cuts power further, the aircraft floats along, just above the runway. A WIG uses this near-the-ground effect for its whole flight.
The machine pictured above, built by Universal Hovercraft, is a prototype, and is very much a work in progress. It flew a few inches above the ground using six battery cells to run both both motors. The version pictured above used r/c gear to control its rudder, but lacked r/c control in its elevator resulting in an inability to control the craft's altitude. The next version of the craft is under development. Future versions will have elevator control and a longer tail assembly, for better balance. If and when the design is perfected, a kit add-on to the GH-2 will be offered for sale.
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