Hovercraft News / Information / Events
The Official Newsletter of the World Hovercraft Organization
In this issue:
- Sport and Recreation: Upcoming Hovercraft Events
- Education: The Hovercraft Program at Parish Hill High School
- Interview: Life as a Hovercraft Dealer - Markku Huvinen, Finland
- Feature Biography: Hugh Firminger and Hovertechnics
- Rescue Operations: Hovercraft Water Rescues at Big Bend National Park
- Hovercraft Manufacturer Profile: Hov Pod
Hovercraft in Sport and Recreation
|A view of the scenic Elk River.|
|Event organizer Stephen Pepper’s hovercraft on a beach during last year’s Elk River Cruise, with Harms Dam in the background. This is the turnaround point for the Cruise.|
Upcoming Hovercraft Events:
April 2008: Elk River Cruise
12 April – Prospect, Tennessee USA
Stephen Pepper, a local host of the Hoverclub of America, will sponsor a 12 April cruise down the scenic Elk River. The 80 mile trip is based on a trip Pepper made in August of 2007 during which he cruised down the Elk River from Highway 127 to Harms Dam near Fayetteville Tennessee.
The cruise will cover much the same ground that Pepper covered last year. With several proposed
breaks, the cruise will last most of the day. Pepper explains that if time permits, there are several
branches of the river worth exploring. Camping and hotel accommodations are available at a possible
For more information, visit the Hover Club of America’s events page
or contact Stephen.
May 2008: Hoosier Hovercraft Championship and Wabash River Cruise
16-18 May – Terre Haute, Indiana USA
|Stephen Pope flying high in the 2004 Hoosier Hovercraft Championship. The sandbar at Lazy L Lake offers a bit of fun for racers. Photo by Dave Reyburn.|
The first Hoverclub of America rally of the year,
the 2008 Hoosier Hovercraft Championship, is coming in May to America’s original hovercrafting
city, Terre Haute, Indiana. This rally is one of the premier hovercraft racing events in America.
Arrival and setup will begin in the afternoon on Friday 16 May, 2008. Onsite camping is available,
and nearby Terre Haute offers several hotel options, including a new Hilton Garden Inn located in
downtown Terre Haute, minutes from the race site. Practice and racing will take place on Saturday,
followed by an awards banquet. Racing fees are $50 USD for the first formula and $20 USD for each
additional formula, and the Hoverclub offers a 10%-20% discount for online registration prior to 10 May.
On Sunday, the scenic Wabash River Cruise with lunch at Turkey Run State Park, always a highlight
of the event, will follow a new course this year, which promises to be more challenging than in
previous years. Several different launch points offer participants a choice of different trip lengths.
For complete information on this popular event, see the Hoverclub of America’s
|Flottsbro Cottages are available for rental during the 2008 World Hovercraft Championship. Rental prices vary depending upon the size of cottage. Camping is another option for those wishing to stay on the grounds of Flottsbro itself.|
August 2008: World Hovercraft Championship
20-24 August – Flottsbro, Sweden
Flottsbro, Sweden is gearing up to host the 2008 World Hovercraft Championship this 20-24 August.
The official WHC2008 web site has been
launched, with detailed information including the schedule of events and views of the racing area.
Plan to arrive after 10am on Monday 18 August, as this is the earliest trailers will be allowed
in the paddock. Time trials for all formulas will be held on Wednesday 20 August and
Thursday 21 August, and racing will extend from Friday 22 August through Sunday 24 August.
Flottsbro is a recreational area
located in the south of Stockholm County, Sweden, and offers full service camping or rental
cottages. The shores of Lake Alby form the beach portion of the area; in winter the spot is
home to the largest ski resort in Stockholm. With mountain bike trails, disk golf, canoeing
and traditional Swedish kubb, a lawn game involving wooden blocks, Flottsbro offers several
options for relaxing entertainment.
Hovercraft in Education
The Parish Hill High School DiscoverHover program, Chaplin, Connecticut, USA
Jim Benini, the founding instructor of Parish Hill High School’s hovercraft building program, has
established a curriculum that has inspired his students and community since 2001. His success in generating
support from the school system, attracting community attention, and arousing student excitement has made
the hovercraft program at Parish Hill an exceptional one. Jim Benini shares with HoverWorld Insider readers
his insights on creating a successful school hovercraft program …
|A Parish Hill student races a hovercraft built by Jim Benini’s class at Parish Hill High School. Like all hovercraft constructed by the students, this hovercraft will be sold to help fund the next year’s hovercraft project.|
In 2001, Benini approached the principal of rural Connecticut’s Parish Hill High School with a
unique idea. He wanted to give the students in his “Principles of Technology” class a
chance to apply their studies to the practical experience of building a hovercraft. His plan was to
acquire a Universal Hovercraft 10F
and use donated or easily purchased materials to complete the hovercraft.
Described by Benini as “a very understanding and forward thinking man,” the principal
gave his permission to start the project. “When I explained what my class was going to do, he was
very curious, and from that point on would ‘drop by’ twice each week to see progress on the
craft,” states Benini.
This easy permission allowed this first class to generate the excitement that has carried through
the subsequent years of Benini’s hovercraft-in-schools experience. The students who worked on
the initial hovercraft were so involved that it became more of an extracurricular activity than a class
project though, originally, they were skeptical that the hovercraft could be completed and would be
able to fly.
|Shown mid-construction, this hovercraft was one of the early models built by Jim Benini and his students.|
“On the last day of school, we took the unpainted craft outside to see if the donated engine
would run. It did, and the craft wanted to fly!” Benini’s description of his
students’ enthusiasm for the hovercraft becomes even more apparent as he describes how the
students remained involved with the project through the summer months. “School ended and summer
officially began, but there were 12 students with me on the baseball field learning how to fly at 3:30
that day! We painted the craft and flew it on the Connecticut River that August at the Connecticut
Benini’s principal quickly recognized the students’ support for the project. “In
September, my principal approached me in the hall and mentioned he had numerous phone calls about the
project from parents. He paused, smiled, and asked, “You’re going to build another one
this year, aren’t you?”
In order to gain support for his project, Benini created a video presentation for the Board of
Education. After his presentation, the Board was quick to announce their cooperation. They offered more
than simple acceptance of the idea, however; the Board was quite eager to see the program in action.
“When do we get to fly it?!” they exclaimed to Benini. The Board has never wavered in their
support, says Benini, “Especially since we started competing at Hoverallies.”
With the program continuing year after year, financial support was needed, for both construction
materials and hoverally attendance. The Board has supplied funds for hoverally transportation expenses,
Benini explains, but the primary funding source for his hovercraft program come from the program itself:
“We’ve been selling off our crafts after we race them in Ohio to fund the next craft.”
This idea of using the class project to pay for the project is an innovative one, which has helped Benini
keep his program hovering.
|Parish Hill High School students take their hovercraft for a test run in the snow.|
Benini has attracted significant attention to not only to his school and students, but also to
the value of school hovercraft programs. He has generously offered his expertise to other schools
by writing Curriculum Guides for the World Hovercraft Organization’s
DiscoverHover program. “Every once in awhile I
get an email from a school or a teacher with questions, and I’m glad I can help them,”
His support and enthusiasm for other school hovercraft programs is an asset to the overall
hovercraft community. By introducing the idea of the hovercraft to students, Benini is not only
giving them the hands-on experience of applying their learning in practical ways, he is also
ensuring that the hovercraft is embraced by a new generation.
For the students, the real excitement is in racing their hovercraft. Each year, the hovercraft
builders race at the Hoverclub of America National Rally. Benini is proud to announce, “My
students live to build, fly, practice and race.”
Attributing the students’ eagerness to the unique nature of hovercraft racing and his
school’s rural setting, Benini explains that his students are not concerned with winning
at the races. “They know we probably aren’t going to finish in the top three spots,
but for them the thrill is the actual racing and seeing how well they can do.” The fact
that the races are national also adds a degree of prestige to their participation.
|Students involved with building the Parish Hill High School hovercraft participate in the Hoverclub of America National Hoverally and other racing events.|
Benini and his students have enjoyed the attention of the media. They have been featured
numerous times on local and national television since 2001, including a Saturday morning program
that interviewed the student teams and taped them flying their hovercraft in Hartford, Connecticut,
and a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) broadcast about the hovercraft program in October 2007. The
hovercraft group also appears regularly in parades.
With all the excitement over the Parish Hill Program it is easy to see why Benini felt that
writing a shared curriculum for DiscoverHover was an
important step. A hovercraft program can provide an outlet for schools to increase their
students’ involvement and foster a community’s interest in its schools. Benini’s
success exhibits how a flourishing school hovercraft program is not only attainable, but is also
a huge amount of fun.
Hovercraft Dealer Interview
Life as a Hovercraft Dealer: Markku Huvinen, Finland
One way for a company to expand globally is through a mutual relationship with a dealer. A
dealership opportunity benefits both parties, and offers a company a way to reach a larger customer
base while developing a working relationship with another enthusiast in its area of interest.
Markku Huvinen, President of Craftima Oy in Helsinki,
Finland, has found his experience as a dealer for Neoteric Hovercraft Inc. both enjoyable and
challenging. In an interview, Huvinen gives HoverWorld Insider readers an inside look into managing
a dealership and meeting the demand for evolving applications for hovercraft.
When did you become a dealer?
I researched for a year (2003) then I started in 2004.
|Markku Huvinen, hovercraft dealer, is shown here with a Neoteric hovercraft on the ice in Finland. Huvinen explains that most Finnish hovercraft owners use their hovercraft during the winter months, when travel to nearby islands becomes dangerous or impossible.|
How has your business expanded since then?
It depends on how much I can deliver, because as many as I can have, I’ll sell them.
I’m working with a backlog of orders. If this were my main job then I’d have to
take a big risk and order 20 units a year.
Business started slow and it has increased quite stably, and at the same time it has
expanded from the private to the official authorities.
I’ve done very little marketing, just one exhibition a year, The Helsinki
International Boat Show. In fact, that’s in a very bad time for me because it’s in
the middle of winter. They order something; they have to wait 8 months. And hovercraft are not
used in the summertime in Finland, only in winter.
Who are your customers?
So far customers have been mainly those who live on the archipelago or they have summer
cottages on the archipelago. These people can use their home or summer cottage only in the
summer because it is so icy. They have to cross frozen lakes or sea, so they can’t go
there. They want to go to their homes other times as well, especially in springtime. Hovercraft
are the only way to get there. Other customers are ice fisherman; ice fishing is a big hobby in
Finland and hovercraft extend their fishing season.
In Finland, are regulations different for hovercraft than snowmobiles?
Yes and no. As I have told all my customers, almost everything is yes and no, or unclear. If
you ask some police officers what a hovercraft is, they will tell you that they don’t know.
That makes it quite difficult, for example, for insurance. There are only 2-3 companies who
provide insurance for hovercraft. Now there is a new regulation for 2-stroke engines and I was
asking our authorities whether the hovercraft are under these regulations. They came back to me,
and said no. Hovercraft are some sort of strange thing to authorities.
To be honest, the hovercraft needs its own category. For example, when I buy a hovercraft
here, the custom tax is sometimes 10%, sometimes 1.5%. It depends who is checking the papers.
Tell me about the environment in your area.
In fact, hardly anyone uses hovercraft in rivers. For the lakes and sea, there are dangerous
places where you can drive a snowmobile through thin ice. Many times a customer has had this
happen and that makes a hovercraft easy to sell. Sometimes the ice is so hard and thick people
can drive cars on the lake or sea, but some winters are very mild.
The challenge is to make the hovercraft a year round vehicle, but it will take time. First I
have to sell some number so customers will ask themselves why they can’t use the
hovercraft in the summer. In fact, customers are my marketing. I don’t have so much money
to put together all kinds of advertising.
|Showing some of the diverse environment in Finland, Markku Huvinen travels on a very rocky river in a Craftima Oy demonstration hovercraft.|
You’re doing no marketing in Finland besides the International Boat Show?
Of course I have a web site, but that’s all. On the other hand, TV companies and magazines
have been very interested. They have made some stories. When I sold one to rescue people it was
on TV three times, also in the news and in magazines. This is the cheapest way to advertise.
Every year we have been on TV once or twice, and in some sort of magazines.
Where are most of your customers learning about you?
This exhibition was the biggest one in the whole country, 90,000 people came. So I have learned
that I have to keep all my emails over these few years. Customers are looking, but it will take
one or two years.
What has been your biggest challenge in building your business?
That’s difficult to say. One thing is: first two years when I was in exhibition, there
were a lot of people who were just ‘kicking some skirts.’ They explained that they
have this kind of unit but it won’t work and things like that. This made them against the
whole idea. But they are still there every year in exhibition and they have an understanding that
there might be something behind hovercraft. So those attitudes, which have been against, can be
difficult to handle.
Are you able to demonstrate the craft at the boat show?
Unfortunately not, because it’s inside. First two years after the exhibition, I have a
lot of demos. This year, not anymore. The people have seen the craft used by the authorities,
that is a big screen.
What has been your most satisfying experience since you’ve become a dealer?
Perhaps it’s this: We made three different videos (in very bad conditions) for the
Finnish Maritime Authorities. Finally they bought a hovercraft and I was very satisfied with that.
Then they made a video and gave it to me and said ‘you can use that.’ I realized that,
okay, they have really accepted this. It gave me the impression that they are really happy with the
craft. Of course, there are some other departments of that company who bought later, but this was
perhaps my most impressive moment when I look back on it. It’s normally customers who say
‘thank you very much’ after sales, but this was the authorities who said
‘hovercraft work and we are saving during one winter its cost’.
How was the timing of your venture? Was it the right time to become a dealer?
If the product had been as it is now, let’s say 10 years ago, that would have been a good
time. There is a market in Finland, there has always been a market and somehow it’s
reasonably good more and more as an idea. If you look at the history there is one Finnish guy who
has been doing research on hovercraft. I can remember many of the older Finnish people; they
thought he’s the man who made the first hovercraft. That’s not true. As I said, 10
years ago if hovercraft was what it is today, I would be much younger.
|Broken or unstable ice creates the highest demand for hovercraft in Finland. After several accidents with snowmobiles on the ice, customers begin to realize that the hovercraft can offer them safe transport across weak ice.|
What has been the most difficult aspect of starting a hovercraft dealership?
Perhaps it is to understand the background and then translate it; most people are not very
technical. This is not a mass market; this is a minority group in that sense. Hovercraft will
give them more freedom in their free time or, in the rescue business, it helps a lot in cost
How did you first become interested in hovercraft?
I have an island, in fact, my parents have an island, but they don’t use it anymore.
They’re quite old. I like to be there in the wintertime also to extend the season. I was
thinking about how to get there. Snowmobile in the south is useless. The distance from the mainland
to the island is 11 km. The first five you can drive by car over the ice and it will still hold. I
never know when it’s too thin. I’ve seen hydrocopters quite a lot; they are very noisy,
so no way. So I was thinking, a hovercraft maybe. Then I started researching on the Internet.
What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a hovercraft dealer?
Take care of legal issues. As I told a friend in Finland, who was very, very interested,
it’s not an easy business. You have to take care of all legal aspects and all that requires.
There are a lot of rules you have to check and so on. This is true for all businesses.
Do you still enjoy going out in a hovercraft just for fun? Do you even have time?
Yes. When we have a demo, sometimes I go further. And sometimes I go with my family to our summer cottage.
Hugh Firminger, Hovertechnics, Inc., Michigan, USA
On 5 October 2007, Hovertechnics, Inc.
of Eau Claire, Michigan closed to mourn the passing of their co-founder Hugh Firminger. With savvy
business strategies, Firminger cultivated Hovertechnics into the strong company the business has
become today. Known for constantly reinventing their products to stay on top of the ever-evolving
hovercraft demand, Hovertechnics continues to honor Firminger’s strong background in marketing
and business management.
|Hugh Firminger, left, and his wife Hedda can be seen here in front of a Hovertechnics Hovercraft. The pair co-founded Hovertechnics, building the business on Firminger’s strong marketing base and intense business drive.|
Born in London, Firminger began his work in mechanical engineering and business with his
entrance to the British Army during World War II, serving in various capacities: parachute
operations in the Special Air Services; mechanical school instructor with the Royal Armored
Corps; and a translator in Germany for the British Military Intelligence.
His diverse military background gave Firminger a broad base of knowledge in both mechanics and
marketing. His work in Intelligence especially equipped him for the sometimes cutthroat world of
business. With experience behind enemy lines, no obstacle was too large to prevent Firminger from
pursuing his goals.
After leaving the military, Firminger held a series of positions for several companies and
gained further experience in marketing, sales and leadership. Beginning as a European Sales
Representative for Dexion Ltd. in his hometown of London, Firminger immersed himself into
marketing, as he did in later positions with other firms.
In 1955, Firminger moved to Trinidad to become Sales Manager of the Engineering Division for
Masion and Co. Ltd. From 1958 to 1961, he held several positions, including Engineering Division
Sales Director for Sandback, Eckel and Co. of Trinidad and District Marketing Manager for Clark
International Marketing, S.A. in Brussels Belgium.
After his promotion to Vice President of Marketing for Clark International, Firminger moved to
the United States, where he later served as Marketing Manager and Vice President of Paccar
International Inc. in Seattle, Washington and Vice President of Oshkosh Truck Corporation in
Wisconsin. Finally, Firminger was hired by the State of Michigan to recruit job-creating
manufacturing operations in Brussels, Belgium. He settled in Michigan, where he founded his own
company, Hovertechnics, Inc.
With his history of job change, self-employment offered stability to Firminger; he needed only
to find the right product and determine his customer base. While in Brussels, Firminger had seen a
television program about the UK’s BBV Hovercraft
and owner Bill Baker. Firminger contacted Baker to discuss the possibility of an American based
operation selling commercial and recreational hovercraft. The two collaborated for a time, finally
resulting in Firminger striking off alone to develop plans for his own hovercraft from Baker’s
BBV 2 hovercraft.
After enlisting the aid of several experts for engineering modifications needed to alter the BBV2
hovercraft for the US market, Firminger and his wife Hedda established Hovertechnics Inc., with their
initial model, the Hoverstar. After several moves of their manufacturing operation, the company
settled in Eau Claire, Michigan where it remains today.
Hugh’s marketing background drove Hovertechnics to continue the evolution of their product
and to offer a wide selection of options for their hovercraft. Wishing to appeal to a wider customer
base, Hovertechnics eventually developed thirteen models.
Firminger dedicated himself to marketing his new company, traveling long distances to demonstrate
his craft and train customers in proper hovercraft operation. His hobby, photography, proved to be a
useful marketing tool and Firminger took many of the promotional photographs of his hovercraft.
Firminger relied upon his marketing experience and steadfast focus to build his company. From the
beginning, he opted for a business model that would subcontract as much manufacturing as possible,
leaving Hovertechnics personnel to focus on assembly only. His company emphasized direct sales and
was very selective in advertising.
Firminger believed that the amateur builders, hobbyists and Hoverclub members were not a sizable
market, so little effort was made to support such organizations. Instead, he used hoverclubs for PR
purposes. When Scat Hovercraft began to develop the rescue hovercraft market, Firminger took the
initiative to ride this wave as well. He continued to work the rescue market long after Scat
dissolved in bankruptcy.
Later, Hammacher Schlemmer of New York featured Hovertechnics’ products for many years. In
another marketing tactic, Hovertechnics’ hovercraft were given away on the Price is Right TV
program. Though the company had a number of notable customers, including various sheiks, the American
presidential hopeful Ross Perot was perhaps one of Hovertechnics’ most well-known customers.
After Firminger’s retirement in 2006, Hovertechnics continued to remain a strong and
innovative competitor in the hovercraft market. His legacy lives on; his company, now operated by his
wife, Hedda, continues today as one of the largest and more well-respected manufacturers in the
Hovercraft in Rescue Operations
Big Bend National Park: Hovercraft River Rescues
The Rio Grande River forms a 118-mile boundary for the 801,000-acre
Big Bend National Park of southwest Texas. Beyond the park, the
river continues to wind its often unpredictable way into another park, the
Rio Grande Wild and Scenic Park. Each year, thousands of
people visit these attractions. The two parks combined offer 245 miles of remote river access for
rafting and canoeing, not all of which is supervised at all times by guides or park rangers.
|Recreational canoeists and hikers place the most common distress calls to the Big Bend River Rangers, often requiring the use of their hovercraft for rescue operations.|
While this uncultivated wilderness may sound like the perfect getaway for some, for the river
rangers of the Big Bend National Park the river country of southwest Texas is a place of work and
rescue. Since 2002, the river rangers have relied on a hovercraft for their demanding rescue
The duties of a river ranger focus on two responsibilities: visitor safety and resource
protection. The hovercraft has proven its value in both areas, even when sometimes pushed out of
its typical rescue scenario.
The unpredictable nature of the Rio Grande makes responding to calls for help an urgent
obligation. Typical calls involve visitors who have been stranded, lost, or much worse. In the
spring of 2007, the river rangers received a call reporting a body in the river. As the water
was low, the hovercraft was needed for body recovery.
Damaged boats can often be the reason visitors are stranded. During low water operations,
the hovercraft is the key piece of response equipment. The river volume can bottom out at levels
less than 200 cubic feet per second. When jet boats and other devices cannot be used to reach
those stranded, the Big Bend hovercraft has proven itself well suited to this work.
In resource protection, the most common function of the river rangers is to prevent
destruction caused by exotic plants. Patrols will spend a week clearing exotic cane and tamarisk
from sections of the park, often resorting to fire to burn out the infestation. Landing and
access sites are particular targets for this sort of clearing. While a hovercraft may not
typically be considered the prime tool for clearing a stretch of land with controlled fire, the
river rangers of the Big Bend National Park have used their hovercraft for just that —
with impressively successful results.
In June 2007, the river rangers participated in a three-day burn of over 700 acres of land,
called the Sublet Prescribed Burn. The group had two goals: eliminate a large patch of exotic
tamarisk from the river’s edge and stop the fire from jumping the river and spreading
further into the park or into Mexico, where it would be difficult to contain. The rangers were
assisted by the Wildland Firefighters to start and contain the fires.
River ranger Michael Ryan was assigned to support a crew of firefighters with a Mark 3 high
performance pump and 300-400 ft of fire hose. “I used our hovercraft to move the pump up
and down the river to locations where the crew was fighting spot fires on the Mexican side of
the river,” he states. Often actively repressing the fire, Ryan’s section of the
operation was quite effective. “At one point we just strapped the pump to the backseat
and pumped right from the hovercraft.”
While not in use to assist the direct fire-fighting crews, Ryan used the Big Bend hovercraft
for recon missions up and down the river, searching for areas where the fire had begun to escape
from control. The craft was also used to move food and drinking water to the crews spread across
and along the length of the river.
Ryan describes his favorite part of using the Big Bend hovercraft during the Sublet Burn:
“The best part of the operation was when I took the firing boss down the river so that he
could ‘fire off’ a section of cane and tamarisk that was difficult to reach by land.
He used a gun to launch ignition fuses. The firefighters call it a sausage gun because the
rounds look like big sausages, but they burn very hot. After four or five were launched into the
brush we have 30 ft flame lengths along the river. I was afraid my hovercraft was going to
melt from the heat.”
Ryan’s hovercraft did not melt, and he projects that the machine will be used in future
fire clears on the river. From fighting fires to rescuing stranded visitors, the hovercraft has
proved itself to be a vital addition to the Big Bend National Park river rangers’ arsenal
of rescue equipment.
Visit the website of the Big Bend National Park for more
information on visiting the park and the Rio Grande backcountry.
Hovercraft Manufacturer Profile
Hov Pod, Southampton, UK
Southampton, the largest city on the south coast of England, has held a primary position in
the maritime achievements of the United Kingdom. As a major port town, it has been a staging
ground for innovations that have revolutionized the world of transportation: the RMS Titanic,
the Supermarine Spitfire, and Christopher Cockerell’s hovercraft.
|Hov Pod Hovercraft are marketed to the leisure hovercraft customer.|
Located in Southampton, Hov Pod Hovercraft markets their product to the leisure hovercraft
enthusiast. Peter Ward, the founder of Hov Pod, originally explored flight through the more
extreme outlet of hang gliding. A frightening accident, resulting in a broken leg, pushed Ward a
little closer to the ground. Unable to give up on the feeling of flight, Ward wondered whether the
hovercraft could offer the thrills of hang gliding without the danger. The marine engineer began
to explore hovercraft and was soon convinced of their worth.
He wondered, however, at the hovercraft’s lack of popularity with the average water
aficionado. He felt that the majority were built by hovercraft racing enthusiasts. Since the design
objectives between a racing hovercraft and a leisure hovercraft differed drastically, Ward wanted
to create a simple but well designed and safety oriented hovercraft for the average person.
Mike Glanville, Hov Pod’s marketing director, explains that from the engine to the exterior,
their craft are designed with the consumer in mind. A single Rotax 52hp engine powers each craft,
allowing for an easy operation and easy shutdown. The size of the engine ensures that there is enough
power behind the hovercraft to reach a speed of 45mph with three adults aboard. The craft has several
guards against collision. Double skin foam sandwich floor and side plates along with separate front
and rear mesh guarding keep the craft reasonably safe during impact and when encountering loose objects
in the water. A segmented skirt design allows the craft to puncture several sections of skirting while
still staying aloft.
Both the battery and electrical circuits are fitted with safety devices to be triggered in case work
on the electrical systems is required. On the hovercraft, the battery can be disconnected from the
system to stop electrical flow. Also, circuit breakers reduce the need to replace parts in the
electrical system due to system overload.
Hov Pod did not attempt to equip their craft with a reversing mechanism. Glanville states that
instead, they developed a well-balanced hovercraft capable of stopping in a straight line and responsive
even in a tight turn.
The company strives to offer a new generation of machine, with a durable simplicity they believe
is often unavailable from other producers. They say their customers want a machine that will be
reliable, yet fun to pilot, but safety and ease of use are just as important. Glanville says the
Hov Pod customer doesn’t want to mess with building a hovercraft of their own; they would rather
have a hovercraft ready for action as soon as they receive it.
To reach this customer, Hov Pod uses an atypical marketing approach. Rather than relying on
advertising and dealer demos, Hov Pod uses a grassroots approach, producing videos for their own
website, as well as free access Internet sites such as YouTube and other dealer websites. The company
has also welcomed directors of television documentaries.
Once attention is gained via the Internet, Hov Pod has set up dealers and companies to demo their
craft, and they also use several dealers who rent Hov Pods for occasional use. “The sheer sense
of freedom you get flying at speed barely above the surface is not easy to describe,” states
Attention Hovercraft Manufacturers:
To have your company news published in HoverWorld Insider, simply email it to Insider@worldhovercraft.org.
Subscribe to HoverWorld Insider
Submit news or articles to HoverWorld Insider.
Read past issues in the HoverWorld Insider
HoverWorld Insider is published by the
World Hovercraft Organization. All rights reserved.
Copyright (C) 2008 World Hovercraft Organization