So what about the hovercraft in TBLP?
I’ve had a number of listeners (well, one is a number!) ask me about Baddeck 1, the hovercraft Angus designs, builds, and ultimately flies in the novel. Regrettably, no such hovercraft yet exists in the real world. I’ve always had an interest in hovercaft. In my misspent youth, a classmate and I designed and built a full-sized hovercraft, dubbed GTH1. The rather official sounding moniker simply stood for Geoff and Terry Hovercraft 1. I know, very clever. Here’s a photo of GTH1 from 1976 on its maiden flight. I’m at the wheel at the tender age of 15 years.
I think my high school hovercraft experience propelled me into engineering at university. While I have no regrets, in the more than 20 years since I somehow persuaded McMaster University to grant me an engineering degree, I’ve never practiced engineering professionally, opting for politics and then communications consulting. The road not taken etc., etc.
Anyway, I like to think that Baddeck 1 is a rather innovative hovercraft design. It came to me and I sketched it out while in first year engineering, when I no doubt should have been taking notes in an Applied Math lecture. Not to get too technical about it, but moving to a single engine design and venting the thrust through the side thrust ports (see below), yields real dividends in weight, height, safety, noise, and control (in my humble opinion). Perhaps one day I’ll take a stab at building it, although I do push back the frontiers of ineptitude whenever tools of any kind are involved.
On paper, Baddeck 1 should work. All of the description and technical details provided in the novel, including those that were left on the cutting room floor through the editing process, are genuine and accurate (at least as far as my technical understanding extends). By the way, I cooked up the graphic above just by dabbling with PowerPoint. Just thought some of you might be interested… then again…