A hovercraft is a type of aircraft used in Panem, mainly by the Capitol, but is later also used by members of the rebellion. They serve a variety of roles from supporting the Hunger Games to transportation and combat. They are manufactured in District 6.
A hovercraft may be equipped with a large claw for lifting or grabbing, harpoons attached to cables, and nets.
They have also been seen catching people by sucking them upwards using some kind of force field. This same force field is used to hold someone in place when they are about to board the hovercraft via its ladder, which is then retracted. This is also used to keep tributes immobilized when a tracker is injected into their forearms. However, in The Hunger Games film, the tributes are instead injected with the trackers while they are seated and strapped inside the cargo bay.
Inside of the hovercrafts used for transporting tributes, there is food and drink for the tributes and stylists to eat as breakfast before entering the arena, as they did not have time to do so at the training center suites. Before the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss refrained from eating despite Cinna's pleas. She only partially drank a glass of water before arriving.
Hovercrafts are equipped with some form of cloaking ability, since they are often described as "materializing". When Katniss Everdeen visited District 12 after its the bombing, she mentions that "at least a dozen invisible hovercraft are circling overhead for my protection." They are also fairly quiet, not making a sound, which allows them to appear without warning. However in the film adaptation, the hovercrafts are much noisier, therefore sighted from far off.
The Hunger Games
Prior to the beginning of the Hunger Games a hovercraft is used to transport each individual tribute with their stylist to their respective Launch Room. Hovercraft windows are closed to prevent tributes from obtaining an aerial view of the arena. Once the Games get underway, a hovercraft carrying a giant screen displays the nightly recaps of who died that day. As soon as a tribute's death is confirmed, their body is recovered by hovercraft along with any
weapons lodged in the body or held by the corpse, permanently removing these from the arena. They also drop gifts by parachute that were bought for the tributes with the money from their sponsors and chosen by their mentor. Since the gifts can appear very quickly, this suggests that hovercraft are constantly shadowing the tributes throughout the Games. Once a victor is declared, they are picked up by hovercraft and returned to the Training Center. This hovercraft is equipped with an operating room and carries a medical team to provide immediate medical care to treat any serious injuries that the victor(s) may have sustained.
In the movie, a single hovercraft transports all of the tributes to the arena at once. Hovercrafts are not seen removing bodies from the arena in The Hunger Games, though they do so in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
In the film, Katniss is seen lying on the floor beside Beetee, after just being rescued. She gets up and takes a syringe before going through two doors to hear Plutarch, Finnick, and Haymitch discussing Peeta Mellark and his whereabouts. Katniss then bursts into the room and tries to attack them, but Haymitch quickly restrains her.
Hovercrafts fulfill many combat functions. They are usually piloted and controlled by the Peacekeepers and military to keep the districts in line or to catch runaways and enemies of the Capitol, an example of this was the capture of Lavinia. Her companion, an unnamed boy, was killed. They have also been used as transports and as bombers.
During the first rebellion about 75 years before the start of the series, the rebels of District 13 captured some Capitol hovercrafts and used these as the nucleus for their own fleet, constructing new hovercrafts and upgrading the older models. The fleet was stationed in the Hangar and later deployed during the second rebellion. During the uprising in District 8 that began on the night that Peeta Mellark proposed to Katniss, hovercrafts were used to suppress the rebels by bombing their strongholds.
The Capitol, though using trains as their main form of inter-district transport, also use hovercraft to travel long distances, as did the rebels later. They are also used to ferry cargo.
- According to Katniss, the entire forest goes silent when a hovercraft is about to come. Right before it appears, a Mockingjay lets out a certain high pitched tune.
- Hovercrafts appear to be the successor of airplanes, helicopters, and other air vehicles from our world, which we don't see in the books or movies. It is most likely that Panem abandoned modern-day air vehicles when they developed hovercrafts.
- Mockingjay, Chapter 1
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 11
- The Hunger Games, Chapters 14 and 18
- Mockingjay, Chapter 6
- Catching Fire, Chapter 10