Overview


Hovercrafts, or simply crafts, are the standard form for private transportation within SW City.

History


One year after the founding of MadCorp in 1985, Mikhail Dostovei spontaneously decided to push automotive technology to the future. In the winter of 1986, a warehouse in the Hyokia Industry Sector? was purchased by MadCorp, and so began PROJECT GRYPHON. This project was to research on possibilites that would serve as alternatives to the common automobile. In 1994, a prototype of a new engine was developed.

"And now, I give you a new kind of propulsion," said PROJECT GRYPHON research supervisor Harvey Fanbeltz. The engine, technically named GR-1005, was part of an experimental "hovercraft" set forth by PROJECT GRYPHON. A test was performed on the Faldon Desert, which proved successful.

A Gryphon GTR-7 hovercraft parked near Town Square Park.

"MadCorp is setting a foot into the future," said test "pilot" Otto Baker. In 1995, the first hovercar gained enormous attention from the public eye at the annual Scarabian Republic Concept AutoShow. Litterally thousands of letters were sent to the MADCorp Headquarters, some including Flint, to produce the new mode of travel to the nation. And so, in 1996, the first hovercraft was put on the market, known as the G1 built by MAD Hovercraft. The vehicle was capable of reaching 70 miles per hour top speed. Filling in the need for an engine manufacturer, MAD Scramjets? began producing the G-1005 engine, all the while researching and designing new engine designs, eventually becoming MadCorp's dedicated engine designer. With the popularity of the hovercraft growing, CommieCorp soon began producing its own hovercrafts, followed by other, smaller hovercraft producers like Bendetto-Denz? and Syncraft? Other companies, like formerly popular the Vector Motor Corporation (VMC) was suffering from financial deficits and could not pursue the new, futuristic mode of travel.

"The future has taken an incredible leap further, we are proud to be a part of it," said MAD Hovercraft designer Roy Baxter. "I hope to see more of these kind of innovations for years to come..."

Technology


Engine Drive and Repulsive/Hover System

  • Engine: The engine(s) of a craft are what provide its ability to move. A craft can utilize one or a series of engines in order to provide enough thrust to move. Just as in the real world, there is no standard engine design. However due to the design of the power bus, almost any engine can be used (as long as the kind of “fuel” it takes and the kind of “fuel” that is being given match up). The engine is usually mounted internally, and may be stacked or mounted side-by-side. In any case, engines are primarily just engines, and any information on their workings is strictly up to the manufacturers.
  • Thrust Management System (TMS): The TMS is the primary system for controlling the direction and speed of the craft. The TMS works in both the power bus and in the engine. The power bus part of the TMS adjusts how much energy goes to the engine, which controls how much thrust the engines can put out and then in turn, how fast the craft goes. The other part of the TMS, connected to the engine (or located in the engine, really) controls to what nozzles to put the thrust into, or where to point the thrust-vectoring nozzle if applicable. Engines have different ways of steering a craft. Some may use multiple nozzles that extend from the rear of the craft, sometimes with different angles for steering. The thrust is focused on the angled nozzles to turn the craft, or at least shifted to the nozzles which turn the craft in the proper direction if all nozzles are used in straight travel.
    • Thrust Vectoring: A thrust vectoring system consists of a vector unit, which is connected to the engine, and a nozzle for directing the engine’s thrust. The vector unit can vary from brand to brand, as there is no current standard, however in MadCorp craft, a thrust vectoring engine has four outputs that move in and out of the engine to pull or push the nozzle into different angles, thus turning the craft.
  • Hover/Repulsion Systems:
    • HoverBed: The HoverBed system utilizes the bottom surface of the craft to generate upward force to provide the craft's ability to hover. Generally, these systems do not require much energy use, especially for passenger craft, and therefore much suited for the role. Higher-powered hoverbed systems exist for industrial craft. The force-generating parts of the bed never come into contact with the ground, as they are usually mounted above the bottom surface of the craft, which is either treated to protect it from road contact or designed so that only a few points of the craft bottom touch the ground.

Fuel Systems

  • Power Bus: The power bus is the system that delivers power to the engines. This system applies mainly for crafts that run on energy collectors and fuel cells. On MadCorp crafts, the standard power bus consists of the energy collection arrays located around the front of the craft, a central fuel cell hub, and the link that provides power from the fuel cell hub to the engine. The fuel cell hub is the heart of the power bus. It takes energy from the fuel cells and delivers it to the engines, while incoming energy from the collection arrays is used to recharge the fuel cells, and in some hubs for performance crafts (such as Gryphon Hoverworks modified crafts), the incoming energy can be routed straight into the engine as either a boost from the fuel cells, or as all the energy that is going into the engine. The link device simply acts as a capacitor to store a small amount of energy for the engine (in case of fuel cell failure) and also makes sure that the engine can work in the system (the link unit may be replaced to accommodate for different energy inputs on engines).

Balancing/Stability Systems

  • Stability Control: Since the first hovercraft models hovered out of their workshops years ago, stability control systems have been in the works to make them fly better and safer. Stability control systems may be external pieces that widen the craft and act as “skates” (parts that can touch the ground without flipping the craft to prevent rollovers) to help when cornering, or internal thrust-redirection systems found on passenger crafts. CommieCorp industrial hovercraft also feature a dynamic stability wing, in which small, hollow wings near the back of the craft are filled with fluid. Pumps transfer fluid from wing to wing to maintain the craft’s balance while under way. Common in modern passenger crafts is an internalized version of this system, with dynamic weights that move to counter rolling forces in turns.

Subsystems

  • Subsystem Power System: The power bus is not utilized only to power the engines. Since fuel cells can provide much power, a small portion of the energy is sent to a power converter located in the fuel cell hub, which provides the craft with a source of 12V DC power. This power is usually used to power a craft’s electronics and subsystems, and also for control systems like the TMS.
  • Electronic Subsystems:
    • Craft Interface System: The craft interface systems of a hovercraft consist of a steering device and some sort of device which can be used to control speed. Control systems vary from craft to craft, and can be a simple wheel and pedal setup, or an advanced “fly-by-wire” system consisting of a joystick and throttle. Some craft may even utilize two separate throttles to control the thrust for each side of the craft.
    • Main Systems Computer: This unit is the brain of the craft. This computer controls most auxiliary subsystems. This computer also is where the maker or operator of the craft can install software to control various subsystems. The MSC is upgradeable, and follows a standard form factor to ensure compatibility between different manufacturers. If an MCS does not follow the standard form factor, it is required to have an adapter to ensure compatibility. Some high-performance MSCs produce much heat, and in that case they are required to utilize a liquid cooling system to ensure that they stay cool as air cooling is unreliable for hovercraft applications.
    • Systems Feedback Monitoring: This subsystem makes up of all the lights and gauges that are in the cockpit. These lights and gauges provide feedback to the operator of the craft to ensure that they know vital systems information and alerts, such as speed, engine conditions, and alerts of any system failures. The systems feedback monitoring programs vary depending on the role of the craft, but all are required to provide basic engine information, alerts of system failures, speed, fuel cell status, and any other information that is vital to the safety and integrity of the craft.
    • Heads-Up Display (HUD): The HUD is not required on crafts, but is strongly recommended as a HUD can reduce the need for a craft operator to take their eyes off of the road to look at information from systems feedback monitoring. HUDs have just one standard: They must all reside on the MSC and be upgradeable through software upgrades.
    • Auxiliary Subsystems: An auxiliary subsystem is any system not listed here and not vital to the safety or integrity of the craft. Examples of auxiliary subsystems include performance enhancing software, in-depth engine monitoring systems, communications systems, and security systems. An auxiliary subsystem may be software to install to the MSC, or might also require the owner or maker of the craft to connect external devices to the MSC through expansion ports.

Page last modified on September 14, 2006, at 05:00 PM