THESE ARE RECENT
PICTURES AND TEXT SENT FROM LOUIS BONDURANT...
I am very new to the sport, having bought my
first craft only 4 months ago. Here is a cut and paste
version of something I put together for a couple of
non-hovercraft friends to explain what went on during my
One of the issues I found most interesting
about the participants (both machines & people) was the
extreme diversity. Many were built from hardware laying
around the garage/barn, others were high tech highly polished
factory machinery. My guess is that the range of personal
investment ran from roughly $200 to $20,000. Here is a shot
of a cool home built from North Carolina in front of a new
factory Neoteric machine from New Hampshire.
The home builts vary across the board in
design and appearance. Here is a shot of the UH12 machine
Harold Carter (Harold from Duluth, GA) built. Operation this
trip was far from trobule free. It is, however, an extremely
clean machine representing a tremendous investment in time.
Not everything that showed up was either shiny
or new. Here is Harold again, this time flying someone else's
Hurricane. This was one of the first ever production machines
and was state-of-the-art close to 25 years ago.
Young and old craft, young and old people. A
number of kids were actively following their dad's interest
in the sport. Many entry level craft were seen operated by 10
to 12 year olds. One boy in particular from Ontario probably
logged well over 20 hours operation during the 3 day event.
Here is one of the smaller entry level machines.
For those too young to operate, the model
people filled the gap.
Then there was the big toys. Bob Windt and
family from Illinois showed up with Bob's WIG. This stands
for Wing In Ground Effect and is a machine which uses the
hovercraft features to achieve adequate speed and then the
air trapped between a crude wing and the ground to maintain
elevation(excuse me altitude). Somewhat safe at an altitude
of less than 1/2 wingspan, but highly unstable much higher.
Target elevation for this craft is probably in the range of 4
to 6 feet, but I did once see a pocket of cold air push it to
well over 10. I did note Bob using adequate caution passing
For those who came to race, Friday was set
aside for preparation. With the tools some brought, you would
think that they planned to build, not repair a craft. With
the backlog of repairs I now have for my 5 hour craft, I am
beginning to see why.
Some of us (me for instance) had less
demanding requirements for repairs. Field repairs were first
required to return to the pitts from 2 miles away.
Fortunately the lace from my left shoe was just what the
Finally racing began. Kerry Bedsworth
(Ackworth, Ga) completed his hull repairs and was able to
compete with his Scat hovercraft.
Kent Gano(in background), on the other hand
wasn't so lucky. Kent had the most tools of anyone, but
unfotunatenly DNFed none the less.
This is Gary Lufke operating a new Air
Commander (the type machine I just purchased). Gary is owner
of GPL Enterprises (the manufacturer of the Air Commander) in
An event of this type is of course not without
its price. This is what happens when a foreign body (not
human in this case) comes in contact with an operational fan.
One individual was fortunate enough to enter
his first event and come away a winner. He will, however,
learn what real competition feels like when he enters a
non-novice event next year.
In closing a parting shot of a truely
remarkable and incredably clean machine. Never had time to
talk to owner and get details. From lack of better
information, we dubbed it "The Moose". (This craft
is owned by Don Bender, MI--and it flies beautiful and
fast!)...dubbed his Experimental!