Transportation: Floating on Air

The thing seemed straight out of a science-fiction thriller. It floated inches off the ground, sounded like a chain saw, and maneuvered like a drunken crab. The contraption stopped alongside a plane bound for Los Angeles, and Oakland Mayor John Houlihan stepped out onto the deck, shouting into a microphone: "Gentlemen, this has been a wonderful experience! We're really going to pioneer in this field." The mayor was inaugurating the first scheduled passenger service in the U.S. of a Hovercraft, the British-designed flying machine that rides above the ground on a cushion of compressed air, can skim both land...

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