Technology: Hovering Closer to Success

When they first hear the roar, visitors at Canada's Expo 67 look skyward, expecting to see a low-flying airplane. Instead, shooting spray from all sides, an ungainly contraption speeds by on the nearby St. Lawrence River, carrying 38 passengers on one of the fair's most popular rides. For most visitors, it is their first glimpse of the hovercraft, a British amphibious vehicle that suspends itself on a cushion of air and skims with equal ease over land, ice or water.

Although hovercraft are still a novelty in North America and in most other parts of the world, they are becoming...

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