52 States in 8 Months

Airboat ride in the Everglades

Posted in Florida by Ulf on December 8, 2008

Before I went to Florida, I did not really know much about the Everglades. I only knew that they have alligators (which I would have called crocodiles), and I knew that they have these airboats:
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What I did not think about before is why they use these airboats. Well, they’re cool, obviously. But there’s also another reason. The water in the Everglades is not very deep. In most places it’s less than 1ft to the ground. And there is grass everywhere. So you don’t want to have an outboard motor as it would just get stuck. That’s why they just build the body of a ship and attach two propellers to it. Our engine came from a crashed Ford road car. btw: The girl from the back row that smiles into the camera on the second picture is called Anne Marie, she is also studying at the law school in Hamburg.

These airboats don’t really drive as you would expect it from normal boats. They don’t have a keel like normal boats have, so they are real holonomic mechanical systems. That means that the constraints of the system do not involve any derivatives of the generalized coordinates. Or in other words: if you turn the boat while you are at speed, the whole thing will drift sideways. That’s fun!

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4 Responses

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  1. kalifornientom said, on December 9, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    … call them crocodilians and you’re off the hook. ;)

  2. Alexandra said, on December 10, 2008 at 5:28 am

    I guess you never got around to seeing the actual Everglades National Park? Obviously, the boat rides are not allowed in the park, as they are bad for the environment for several reasons. I hope you at least went to the Indian place to do the boat ride? Although I fear not…
    P.S.: Looks like “some company” is really trying to buy you guys… I finally get the picture… Thanks for your detailed description though, it’s really interesting!

  3. Ulf said, on December 10, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Hey Alexandra! You’re right, the airboat rides are just a couple of miles outside Miami. We actually went to the National Park itself on the Saturday after our McKinsey event. I’ll write about this today or tomorrow.

    Yes, this was kind of a McKinsey recruiting event. It was also an introduction to management consulting itself. However, they failed miserably, at least in my case. Although I believe they wouldn’t hire me if I would apply for a job there. I’m simply not enough of an extroverted PowerPoint presenter ;-).

  4. […] Posted in Florida by Ulf on December 10th, 2008 As Alexandra has mentioned in a comment on an older post, our airboat trip was not really in the Everglades. I mean, those were the Everglades, but only the […]


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