Sailors compare piloting Navy hovercraft to flying planes, driving race cars
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Flying a Navy hovercraft requires intense focus, but crews thrive on that pressure, according to one of the sailors who trains them.
The cabin of a landing craft air cushion, or LCAC, looks a lot like the cockpit of a cargo plane, and the controls to fly it are also similar.
The pilot, or “craftmaster,” uses rudder-peddles to control the direction of travel and hand controls to move bow thrusters and adjust the pitch of two giant fiberglass propellers.
Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Marcial, formerly a navigator with the Japan-based Naval Beach Unit 7 who trains hovercraft crews stateside, said the vessels do everything full-size ships do but at a higher rate of speed. They can also can move in six directions, like an aircraft.
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