Hovercrafters in California!!

Meet David Timmerman - Rancho Cordova, CA!

Yepper, those are broken rudders....!!!! :-(

Meet David. Well, this is one great guy.......he's about the happiest go-lucky guy around.....well, not too lucky, tho! I guess I can say he definitely is a happy guy.....

In a nut shell, the whole story can be summed up this way. David flew out to our shop to learn how to drive his StarCruiser, and upon his return home, our delivery buddy, Dan Davis, delivered the craft to David in California, thus saving David a lot of time on the road. But that would be too easy to let this story end!

David's instructional flight was a lot of fun. He did Kelley's Sand Bar on the Mississippi....not just once, but several times, forward and backwards, and became very adapt at flying his hovercraft. About 3 hours into our afternoon of warm fun, we decided to head back. Verdon chose a pretty windy strip of back river 'just for fun' and we headed back to Lynn Hollow where we had launched.

Note the splint attached to the center rudder....this is Verdon's make shift splint for the broken rudders, which happened as David first hit the river bank in this windy area of the river, striking first the nose of the craft and swung around trying to recover and then smuckered the bank with the rear of the craft. Now I don't suggest anyone try to imitate these maneuvers, but it sure was exciting to say the least.

Luckily, no other damage was done. However, the river was extremely shallow and contained about 3 feet of mud, and there was no way anyone could stand in the water bed and perform repairs. So Verdon put one leg in the Pl and one leg on the rear of David's craft, and I got out my oar and stabilized the crafts in the mud, while Verdon made the 'brace'! (Have you ever tried to stand in two hovers at the same time--off cushion? That was a great picture, except I didn't have the camera!)

We were very fortunate to find a stick available right nearby, without wading thru the mud. In fact, that stick was part of the small clump of logs Verdon had unexpectdly set the PL down on, as he took a look back and saw David strike the bank. I also was watching David, and before we knew it, I was laying on the floor of the PL upside down. Verdon had forgotten to watch where we were going when he was watching David....and now I'm on the floor! The PL is on this hump of small logs (no damage tho) and we're all laughing!

We were fortunate to have had the electrical tape in the tool box, as the duct tape was no longer in there, having been confiscated by someone in the process of repairs at another time. Could our luck have run any differently that day? But from there the day was a total success. A great ice cream cone at the Oky Doky on the way back (David's treat!) and we were indeed tired!

New rudders were built for David and Dan was notified he could pick up the craft and start his trek to California! Verdon and Dan decided to take the 'splint' back to California with the craft to David, just in the event he may need the same repairs at another time in the future. Note the splint laying across the cap--Dan's hand is near it.

"Strike up the music: CALIFORNIA, Here I come......right back where I started from...."

Or something to that effect. David's report of receiving the craft was a great read! He took Dan for a ride and pizza and they had a blast! And best of all, David promises some pictures soon!

A note from Dave!

Since the subject of damage to StarCruisers has come up recently here is what happened to me on my pick-up day.

I arrived in Cuba City to learn to fly my new SC on Oct. 1. I met Linda, Verdon and Vernon at 10 am and after handling the paperwork Linda, Verdon and I headed to the river. Linda left in her PL express and Verdon and I took off in my new hover. Verdon showed me the ropes for about 10 minutes then I took over. We sped along for a while then stopped at a large sand bar, about 20 feet high. I practiced going up and down several times to get the feel of the steep launch ramps at home. We headed up river a bit and pulled into a paved boat ramp, more practice.

At this point we headed home and Verdon was now riding with Linda. As we neared the boat ramp we were flying through some narrow S turns between small islands near the bank. Linda and Verdon were ahead of me. As I approached a left turn I was too close to the right bank.

The tail swung right and I did not apply throttle soon enough to straighten out. The tail smacked into the bank or a fallen tree trunk, not sure which, and knocked my left rudder out of the mounts and snapped the center one in half and creased the right one. Linda and Verdon came back to find me hovering around in circles. Verdon got the rudders back in the mounts and taped up the broken one with electrical tape (all we had) but it still flexed to much and I could not steer. We were able to get over to a sand bar where we found a piece of driftwood to splint the center rudder. While taping this in place I found I had 2 foot tear in the rear of my skirt. Fortunately Linda had tie wraps on board and we were able to repair the skirt as well.

I asked if anyone had ever done this much damage to a new craft on a checkout drive before and found out I had the honor of being the first. We headed back to the ramp and the splint worked great. There was a little slop in the steering but it was manageable. We headed home where Linda proceeded to take the pictures to record my unlucky event forever. Needless to say the StarCruisers are quite forgiving and durable. Thank you to the Webers who built 3 new rudders and repaired the skirt before she shipped out.

She arrived in Sacramento the following Sunday afternoon in good repair. The Weber's even sent the splint we used to hold the rudder in place in case I need it in the future (I hope not). My wife Kathy, the driver Dan and I headed out to Folsom Lake to try it out and everything worked perfect.

Write David if you are interested in getting together with him for a small hoverin!!

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