Panther, Diamondback or Elite?

huntingbigun had some great airboats built by Diamondback - search his posts & photos

Don't even slow up, go talk to Raymond at Alumitech in Orlando, tell him what your plans are and listen to his advise, he has built HUNDEREDS of boats, will not steer you wrong, I ran hurricane rescue for FEMA and have had 25 plus years running aluminum airboats, now run only saltwater and my retirement present to me was new hull from Alumitech, one and done. MHO
Well I can tell you this, they all promote say an 8'wide boat, but that is measured at the top "beam width" you throw a tape measure at the bottom and you'd be lucky to see 6'8" of width if that, then the high sides with all the weight, they take a lot more to get on a plane.
I've watched these style boats many times and shook my head at how much throttle is needed to get up on plane.
Displacement is key. I could put you on a 7'4" wide by 13'6" with the exact same powerplant as one of "theirs" and a blip of the throttle you are on plane while theirs is still revved up and climbing out of the water.
This is where I diverge from both John and the crowd. My hulls measure 7' at the top, but put a tape on them and you will find 4' of flat at the stern, 7' on the nose. As Bob Stossel used to say, "you run it over once, why keep doing it?"

My Stossel boats do not jump on plane with a "Throttle Blip", but they do run ground like deep water. My Stossel boats are unstable because of the rounded stern and the minimum amount of hull on ground. I run water to get to where I'm going but generally look to avoid.

Here is Mert the test pilot on full plane.

I can tell you this, after owning 2 Diamondback airboats, I'm not sure I'll own anything else. They are tough, dependable, and have exceptional quality to detail in all their work. They also work well with the customer, and are friendly to deal with. I don't abuse a boat as bad as some, but I'm not gingerly with mine either and I have put a lot of miles on the front seat of a Diamondback with little to no issues. I understand the government agency comment, but I had family work for FWC, they don't skimp in the airboat department.
Ditto, and Bobby's warranty and quality speak for themselves.
Brand new $35K plus boat with 9 hours on it my ZZ4 grenaded in a ball of flames. Bobby didn't even hesitate to warranty it. then the boat's performance just didn't meet my expectations of being a hill burner, once again DB stood up to their name. And for the record as usual John is right as our deeper hulls do take a lot more to get them moving.
The only aluminum boat myself and my dad owned was diamondback we got brand new boats head to toe used our motors my dad's metal works started rusting one week after he got it it was recommended a single axle trailer would work with his boat his motor was a 502 BBC the suspension was so weak that the tires flared and wore in one place on the edge of the tires my engine stand was so bad it took me a half a day to get my motor to fit it when I put my cage on the cage did not fit this was 2004 I would hope if I bought another the quality would be better