The following information is provided to familiarize the airboat owner with basic operational and safety considerations associated with airboat operation. It is not intended as a substitute for qualified training and experience. For further information, contact an authorized PB Airboats factory representative.
To prevent possible equipment damage or injury to personnel please read this manual thoroughly before attempting to operate your new airboat. It is also recommended that qualified instruction be obtained from your PB Airboats representative prior to initial operation.
Your airboat's unique design provides it with the speed, maneuverability, and amphibious capabilities possible in no other craft. The following is intended to give the reader a basic understanding of the advantages that the propulsion, hull design and steering system provide to the airboat user.
Your airboat differs from traditionally powered watercraft in that propulsion is provided by an automotive engine fitted to an aircraft-style propeller. Where traditional craft use a propulsion unit that extends below the water surface to transmit thrust to the water, the airboat propulsion unit accelerates the surrounding air instead. This has the obvious advantage of allowing the airboat to go where traditional craft cannot. Your airboat therefore has the capability of navigating in extremely shallow water, and if equipped with a polymer lined hull, over land for short distances.
Throttle control is via a foot pedal located in front of the operator's seat. The entire propulsion system is enclosed within a stainless steel tube-and-wire cage that protects occupants and gear from coming in contact with the rotating parts.
The flat or "planing" hull design of your airboat is what allows operation in very shallow water and over land for brief periods (if polymer lined). At rest, the buoyancy forces of the water support the weight of the boat. This force is directly related to the volume of water displaced by the hull and the density of the water. When moving, however, the large flat area of the hull acts much like an airplane wing to lift the hull out of the water, reducing total drag and, therefore, increasing top speed for the power expended. The larger the flat surface area, the lower the speed needed to lift the boat. Therefore, due to it's large area, your airboat achieves plane very quickly. Once at speed, mere inches of water are required for safe navigation.
If your hull is equipped with a polymer lining (optional), this low-friction material will allow limited operation over dry ground. Total safe duration in this mode will depend on speed, load and distance traveled. The available Friction-Relief Water Spray System (optional) provides additional friction reduction that will tend to increase duration in this mode.
Prior to shifting from water to land operation, reduce speed to a safe level to prevent throwing personnel or unsecured equipment from the boat. The operator is responsible for the safety of all occupants while the boat is underway.
Steering control is provided by twin rudders located aft of the propeller, within the thrust air-stream. Rudder actuation is via mechanical cable attached to the top of the rudder at one end and the operator control stick at the other. Left and right turns are made via fore and aft motion on the control stick.
By locating the rudders aft of the propeller, engine thrust may be used to turn the boat within it's own length, even from rest. This provides the greatest maneuverability possible. Polymer bearings at the stick pivot-points and spherical rod-end bearings on the sealed cable-and-rudder joints ensure reliable operation. By locating steering cable connections at the top of the rudders, the cable end is as far from potential water spray as possible.
Warning: Prior to starting engine, remove or secure all loose material from within, around or behind the engine cage. Loose objects may be picked up by the propeller, resulting in possible equipment damage and/or injury to personnel.
Hearing protection is recommended for all personnel while the airboat is operating. High decibel levels due to propeller noise may occur during full throttle operation.
The followmg steps should be followed each time you start your airboat
- Ensure that the area aft of the boat is clear of anything that may be moved or damaged by the propeller air stream.
- Turn the battery selector switch to the ''Both" position.
- Insert the ignition key into the key switch located on the side of the control panel housing.
- Turn the ignition-key clockwise, one click, to the "On" position and check that all panel-lights and gauges operate.
- Depress throttle pedal approximately half way, two times, to prime carburetor.
- Shout, "CLEAR'', release the throttle pedal and turn the ignition key clockwise to the"START' position. Release when engine starts.
- Increase throttle to 1000 RPM and hold for 30 seconds to wann the engine (Optional).
- Move the control stick through its full range and verify proper rudder operation.
You are now ready to move to the Driving section of this manual
Driving Your Airboat
The followmg information covers important details specific to airboat operation. It is not intended as a substitute to qualified airboat operational training and instruction. It is recommended that you contact your local PB Airboats representative to arrange for this training before attempting to operate your airboat.
Caution: Hearing protection is recommended for all personnel while the airboat is operating. High decibel levels due to propeller noise may occur during
Full Throttle Operation.
Caution: It is the operator's responsibility to ensure the safety of all airboat passengers. Prior to getting underway, the operator should ensure that all passengers are securely seated and seat handles are utilized.
- When starting from land, apply full throttle until. the boat begins to move, then reduce throttle to maintain steady speed
- If necessary, operate rudders back and for the to break static friction. Once in motion, reduce throttle to maintain steady speed
- When starting from the water, employ full throttle to bring the boat on plane.
- Once on plane, the boat will accelerate due to reduced friction with the water as noted previously.
- Reduce throttle to maintain a comfortable cruise speed.
Turning on Land
Caution: Maximum speed when entering a turn on land is 5 mph [8 kph] to prevent turnover.
TURNING STICK: FORWARD=RIGHT BACK=LEFT
When entering a turn, reduce speed to 5 mph [8 kph] or less. Push forward on the control stick to turn right, pull back to turn left. Increase power through the turn until the new heading is reached and return controls to the neutral position.
Turning on Water
When executing a turn on water, it is important to maintain your speed after initiating the tum. The natural tendency to reduce throttle after entering a turn could cause the trailing wake to overtake the boat and wash over the transom, possibly contacting the propeller. A safe turn on the water should be completed as follows
- Prior to entering a turn, ensure that the boat is on plane.
- Initiate the turn by gradually moving the control stick forward (for right tum) or backward (for left tum), increasing stick deflection until the desired turn radius is achieved
The operator should ensure that sufficient room is available to come off plane prior to maneuvering into docking position.
Rapidly forcing the control stick into a turn while on plane could cause loss of control and possible equipment damage and/or injury to personnel. It is the responsibility of the operator to ensure safe operation at all times.
- Increase throttle setting to maintain speed through the turn until the desired heading is obtained.
- Return the control stick to the neutral position to maintain new heading.
When docking, it is important to remember that your airboat does not have brakes or reverse. Practice and experience is necessary to become proficient at stopping and maneuvering your airboat The following information is provided as a guide for proper techniques to remember when docking your airboat
- First, come off plane by gradually reducing the throttle. Make sure the trailing wake does not overtake the boat by adjusting the throttle as necessary.
- When off plane, use a combination of rudder position and throttle setting to maneuver the boat into docking position. Remember that the boat is turned by the thrust of the propeller, directed by the rudders.
- Prior to shut down, allow the engine to idle approximately 30 seconds. This will allow sufficient coolant flow to the cylinder head prior to shut down to prevent "dieseling".
- Turn the ignition key counter-clockwise to the "Off" position.
- Turn the battery selector switch to the "Off' position.
- Stow hearing protection and secure the boat