SOME DAY YOU'LL NEED TO REPAIR THE BODY OF YOUR HOVERCRAFT....

This is our course in REPAIRS 101!!

At some point in time, you will need to know how to repair your hovercraft! That's a given! From the occasional wild windy mishap of Andy Pittman's in March 2000 to.....
Verdon's major scrape with a tree on the Mississippi River....
it's a good thing to be able to handle the foam effectively to achieve that nice smooth finish you had when you first purchased or built your hovercraft! This was Andy Pittman and Verdon at Troy 1999 repairing on the spot!
Eventually with all of your hard work, you will come to realize that you only need to insert a piece to fit the broken puzzle.....right?
After you have fitted the repairs to the hover, glue it in with lots of Great Stuff!!
Yes, I said lots of it! This repair was on the side of Dennis Alms' #40 and shown is also the underside of the hovercraft (with the skirt partially removed)!
Okay....so you got the Great Stuff set up enough that you can take a sharp edged knife and cut it off. Then you will smooth it down with a bit of sandpaper. The real challenge will be to have the new patch come out even with the original paint thickness outside the patch. Here, Verdon takes a bit of Raka's resin/hardener and spreads with his home-made squeegee (from a piece of vinyl siding!). How easy can it be?
Some more saturation......just pour it from the cup to the side of the craft! Here Verdon has applied cotton flock to even out the areas where the Great Stuff foam and craft body meet....to make a nice even flat surface to lay the glass over.
Cut a section of 6 oz. fiberglass and lay over the saturated area.
And yes, please remember the vinyl gloves. There also is a product out which Verdon favors and that is an invisible glove which you coat your hands and upper arms with.
Now you need to be patient and yet work swiftly. The glass needs to be saturated and yet not so wet that it slides off the side of the craft.....
The repair job begins to take shape as Verdon gently smooths the edges and saturates at the same time using the squeegee method.
Now to work the belly edges underneath the craft...
He's really good at this, but anyone can do it, with a lot of practice. Gently, persuade the cloth to conform to the craft.....
The last few persuaded strokes attach the patch to the belly.
The final product is really looking promising.
But now remember.....the StarCruiser actually has another layer under the belly of the craft and there also needs to be extra thickness at the tack strip area.....and Verdon here shows the newspaper attachment method! During production of the new craft, tack strips are laboriously produced and attached individually to assure good seal and thickness for security of the hovercraft's bag skirt.
Another shot as he lays the newspaper with the wet glass on it up against the craft for final attachment.
Actually, the product begins to warm within itself at this point and is setting up quite quickly!
Verdon begins to peel away the paper and leave this layer of glass turned up around the skirt attachment (tack strip) area.
The newspaper comes away clean......Verdon prepares to smooth the final product down.
x Actually, this type of repair is probably the most difficult, knowing that you have another wet surface sliding across the original piece of cloth previously attached as you began the repair process. Patience will pervail, those glass strands will be smoothed into place, and walla.......
Doesn't that look pretty darned nice? Of course, it helps to have made many a repair in the past few years to have the ease and confidence of making the repair, but with lots of practice, you will too!
Well, we hope you don't need to make repairs, but if you do, you have now successfully completed Repairs 101! Get out the body filler, do some smoothing, and perform a final miracle with some touch up paint. Reattach the skirt and GET HOVERING!

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