Hovercraft are unlike any other kind of vehicle because of their peculiar requirements for control, and particularly, steering. One would think that it would steer a bit like and airplane, and to some extent that is true, but only in certain circumstances. Both kinds of transport can change direction by obstructing the forward thrust air flow by interposing an aerofoil, or aileron, and changing it's angle. However, with an airplane it's much more effective because they normally travel at a higher speeds. Even large hovercraft never go more than 200 kmph.
At these lower speeds, traditional ways of steering air borne craft are not too effective, so the steerage action needs to be effected well before the change in direction is required. It is the same kind of principle as an ocean liner or a cargo vessel which can take 3 to 4 kms to turn through a 90 degree bend. These huge ships also need quite a lot of time to stop as well. Even if the engines are reversed at full power, the sheer inertia of the craft ensure that they will continue in the same trajectory for quite a while.
As one might imagine, much smaller craft don't have the same characteristics, whether it's a personal hovercraft or a light aircraft. Of course, small hovercraft can stop quite quickly, and in an emergency, it's possible to just cut the engine. However, this is dangerous over water, as the front end will plow in and bring it to a very rapid stop, throwing passengers violently over the bow. It should be relatively safer on a flat solid surface, but be assured that the craft will sustain substantial damage to the skirt and hull. If the hull is made from glass fiber, this kind of manoeuvre would be disastrous as the hull would undoubtedly split and require expensive repairs.
When searching for a hovercraft for sale, it's important to try it out first, and give particular attention to the steering - Click to read. Normally, its done by using handle bars, similar to a motor bike, which changes the angle o fan aerofoil fixed in the forward thrust air flow. However, this only has a limited effect and so the operator must throw his body weight to one side if he wants to change direction with urgency at maximum rate. Hovercraft designed for up to 6 people, who may be members of you family, still use the same principle, but of course safety considerations mean this type of manoeuvre should be limited and use with caution.
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