How Airboats Made?

Here's a look at the construction of the average Everglades airboat. It is made up of the following:

1. 10-18-foot pram-like hull.

2. Hull is made of welded, not riveted aluminum panels; or a combination of aluminum and fiberglass or abs plastic.

3. Bow is not squared but is smoothly rounded (it's easier to push through bush in this way).

4. One or two passenger benches are contained within the hull.

5. Hull is open, but may feature a small wind smoothing lip on the edge of the gunwale.

6. Stowage is in bow, usually in lockers.

7. Pilot seating is essential and it must be high so that the pilot can see the entire area all around the craft easily and can maneuver even with a huge propeller spinning.

8. Pilot seat area amidships may sound the same but it is not as the pilot area also contains the fuel tank and battery for the engine. It may also contain the alternator for the, as well as the transmission and linkage to the propeller.

9. Stern area contains the safety cage for the engine and propeller plus screening for protection. It also contains the housing for the airplane motor, gearing for the propeller, prop itself and the rudder, usually a two-vane affair and its linkage.

10. The protective also screen also kept the passengers from injury.

Note, none of this would have been possible had it not been for World War II and the many small Piper Cub and Cessna planes that were surplused after the war. The small, canvas planes really had no shelf-life for future years as events and technology had overtaken the small spotter planes. During the war, they served as spotter platforms for artillery units. By the time the Korean War had come around, helicopters were serving in that role while the little Cubs and Cessnas were relegated to carting USO troupes and dignitaries around.

This left thousands of small engines and props available, plus the magnetos and other armatures that were needed to start and stop these engines.

It took some inventive genious to ensure the creation of the rudder (a variation of the airplane rudder pedals and linkages), fueling system. Various designers had to find ways to mount these engines and have them work as some of them were actually air-cooled radial engines that needed a steady flow of air and oil for cooling. And once that was figured out, they developers had to determine just how they would mount the propellers as there were millions of two-blade props available that would act as the actually mover for the air boat.