geniusjohn5 wrote:This may sound like a really dumb question but I'm an extreme newbie to this event. Does the hovercraft float on the air-contained skirt or is there a little bit of plain open air beneath the skirt?
The skirt inflates with air, levitating the craft, but the skirt will stay in contact with the surface. That effectively reduces (but does not eliminate) the weight of the craft. And the air escaping through holes in the skirt reduces friction enough to where the propulsion fan can accelerate the vehicle horizontally.
Think of air hockey table - the puck stays on the table, but can slide along with minimal effort because of the little jets of air coming through the table holes. The hovercraft is sort of like an upside down version of that set up.
I hope that analogy is helpful but definitely do a little research - Wikipedia always a great place to start!