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Mower on air cushion

Launched in the 1960s by the brand Flymo, the air-cushioned mower uses a technique similar to that of hovercraft. (Non-contractual photo, does not necessarily reflect the drawing)

It allows the levitation of the machine a few centimeters from the ground and causes the removal of the wheels.
The absence of friction with the ground allows a movement of the machine without effort when the grass to be mowed is not very high.

Principle of operation of air cushion mowers

The mower's engine drives a powerful turbine that draws air over the crankcase through vents in the top hood, and propels the air under the mower, lifting the bell-shaped crankcase.. The air discharge pressure is calculated so that the mower only lifts a few centimeters, enough to slide the machine easily and cut the grass to a satisfactory height. The blade is substantially in the plane of the outer rim of the housing, which is bell-shaped.

Mower on air cushion

Mower on air cushion

Advantages and disadvantages of the air cushion system

An object of great curiosity when it was launched, the air-cushioned lawn mower impresses with its originality and modern character. On the one great simplicity it has strong assets that may not always have been highlighted, this type of machine being too often considered as a gadget more than as a performance mower: a summary judgment that comes most often from misuse (grass too high) that does not showcase the benefits of this material.
At the forefront of these we will highlight the possibility of mow on very steep slope, the machine can be pulled from the highest point of a field with a rope! Used on a lawn with short grass, the air-cushioned mower is easy to maneuver and requires much less effort than a push mower.
Another interesting aspect, the air-cushioned lawn mower is very light, which facilitates its movement and storage. The absence of wheels, and therefore of bearings and mechanical height adjustment system limits the maintenance and avoids the problems affecting these bodies (seizure, rupture, etc.).
However, it has some disadvantages: it becomes practically inmaniable in high grass and its quality of mowing then becomes very bad.
A priori, the mower air cushion does not lend itself very well to the collection of the grass, the weight of it, worn towards the back of the machine, being practically contradictory with the principle of operation of the apparatus. Conscious of the interest of the public in the collection, the manufacturers have however developed machines integrating a tray. Some big machines have a compacting system of clippings with a filling control window. For smaller models, the machine has a function of integrated mulchingwho grinds the grass that turns into green manure.

Engines

The image of the air-cushioned mower is generally associated with that of the electric motor; a solution which, it is true, remains the most practiced.
It will be seen, however, that nothing stands in the way of the use of the 2 or 4 stroke engine. The presence of a turbine requires the use of a powerful motor, which, even on smaller models, approaches 1 kW (while there are small electric mowers on wheels of less than 500 W. The need for a power supply This greatly limits the machine's range of operation, hence the development and marketing of air-cooled engine mowers.
The interest is obviously on models with 2-stroke engines, only able to operate on a slope, which is, we know, the main asset of the mower air cushion.

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