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 first Hoverally.
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 under bridges!!
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 doctor ordered.
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 South Florida.
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!
Back to HoverIns 99!
Fly a StarCruiser of your own!