Air boats are watercraft
that are powered by large propellers
mounted on the rear.
Early air boats used
aircraft engines to spin their props,
but most state of the art air boats
use standard V-8 engines for power.
The engine powered by
gas turns a crankshaft, which spins
the propeller more than 3000 rpms.
As air boats do not
require underwater rudders or blades,
their bottoms can be very flat. This
implies that air boats can reach areas
usually out-of-the-way to conventional
boats, such as very shallow water, swamps
and stump-filled inlets.
Air boats can also travel over most land
surfaces, as long as the propeller can create
enough power to overcome the added resistance.
The bottom and sides of many air boats are covered
with a thick layer of polymer plastic to escape
the damage of gravel and hard surfaces.
Airboats are usually used for amusement and
fishing, but many coastal cities also employ
them for rescue operations which is its great
importance. Harsh winter climates always made
search and rescue operations complicated. Without
proper protection, bone-chilling temperatures,
broken ice and mushy open water can instantaneously
threaten lives and apparatus.
In places like the Florida
Everglades, air boats are much more
realistic than customary boat designs.
Weeds and grasses slip
below the flat bottom of the air boat
and the propeller never comes in contact
with the water.
Pilots of air boats
control direction through the use of
a handheld rudder and 'brake' by cutting
power to the engine with a strangle
control. According to some people Alexander
Graham Bell in reality planned the first
air boats in 1905, even though innumerable
numbers of amateur boat builders also
attached aircraft engines and propellers
to flat-bottomed boats.
Most air boats built before the 1980s still
used aircraft engines, but for that proper up
keep proved to be complicated. With the switch
to standard automotive engines like a Chevy
350 V-8 or 454, most of the mechanics can at
ease make repairs to air boats with readily
The Husky Nattiq airboat is a fast-response
rescue vehicle designed to safely transport
up to six people through the most uncertain
winter conditions, over ice, water or even snow.