Hov Pod Hovercraft Design Philosophy
- Design/Manufacture and Build Quality
- Other Quality Considerations
- Operational parameters
- Safety Considerations
- Components We Use
- Servicing and Maintaining The Hovercraft
- The Hov Pod Styling
- Hov Pod Customer Support
Up to now, hovercraft have been thought of as backyard playthings or bought in the form of a self-build kit – conceived by enthusiasts for hobbyists and other enthusiasts. Our design philosophy is to transform an invention of the last century into a modern vehicle of the 21st century, constructed with the heavy demands of the marine leisure and rescue market in mind.
For the right mix of thrills, simplicity of use, build quality and craftsmanship, people carrying capability, top notch safety, toughness, controlability, comfort level and maintainability, Hov Pod represents the best personal hovercraft in today’s market giving fantastic value for money.
When we conceived the Hov Pod hovercraft for leisure, we saw that clients would compare the vehicle to various marine craft on the market and ask the question – why choose our hovercraft instead of another make? This article will aid our clients in understanding our design approach and help explain the reasons why Hov Pod is a great choice.
Design/Manufacture and Build Quality
Hov Pod employs only the best components and production methods available.
The points that follow expand on just some of the elements that were taken into account in the design process of the Hov Pod:
- Electrical connections and related terminations are connected in dry enclosures or enclosed within boxes that are sealed utilizing the best quality marine IP67 inline connectors (sealed). When being used on water this gives much higher operating security than normal exposed terminal type blocks and connections that are crimped.
- The Hov Pod hovercraft employs a marine quality steerage cable provided by Teleflex® (the global leader in marine steering mechanisms). To ensure that the hovercraft is even more reliable, this special steering cable was then further adapted to our particular specs, to make sure that we have stainless steel construction every where.
- Every other part of the steering mechanism is fabricated from completely polished standard high chromium marine grade SS.
- Reliable use and simple operation are essential in choosing a hovercraft engine. The Hov Pod employs a basic 2-stroke engine cooled by air tested by years of use in the microlite aircraft sector, or the very popular 4 stroke Turbo engine from Weber.
- When we designed the Hov Pod hovercraft we wondered if we should use just one engine or two. The employment of one engine to give both the thrust and lift was the final choice because it reduces the amount of components needed and electrical circuits, and also gives the client higher reliability and security of mind. If two engines were fitted, the second would have to be mounted in advance of the driver’s area and this leads to problems with reliable operation, as it would be open to water when moving in rough weather or when coming to a stop quickly.
- The HovPod hovercraft includes 65 separate segmented nylon skirts made from polyurethane, such that any tears due to surface debris will only affect one or two segments. The pieces are simple to repair and one segment needs about two minutes to fit by a client.
- The Hov Pod hull is another unique feature, fabricated from HDPE (High Impact Polyethylene). This material is light in weight but very tough with positive buoyancy, so is perfectly matched for small personal hovercraft construction. HDPE has been employed in recent years in for making Formula 1 crash fencing and also artificial replacement joints.
For all vehicles transported by air, which includes craft like hovercraft, airplanes and overhead propellers (helicopters), weight is of utmost importance.When designing the Hov Pod we wanted to minimize the weight
but we also wanted to ensure a enhanced level of durability and toughness. Where we could save weight, we have done so if craft quality and durability didn’t suffer. We don’t employ hulls constructed from glass fibre, as it can split on impacting a fixed object.
Hov Pod includes many features to reduce the risk of damaging the vehicle:
- An impact bumper strip made of rubber skirts the hovercraft to give protection it against small scratches and ‘dinks’. Directly underneath this rubber strip you will find a robust impact plate made from aluminium.
- The underneath of the hovercraft is furnished with two aluminium skids running down it’s length that give great protection when stopping on all kinds of surfaces.
- The back and front ends of the hovercraft feature big impact wear plates also made from aluminium. The strips are fitted in precise areas to give high reliability and enhanced safety,giving protection to the hull by largely absorbing mechanical stress from any impact.
- When stainless steel isn’t suitable, all metal parts have been subjected to a galvanizing process giving a high degree of protection against corrosion.
Other Quality Considerations
To make sure enhanced levels of quality, we chose parts produced by well established organizations. This makes sure that up to the minute production methods and quality norms are followed in the component fabrication and design criteria.
Hov Pod Hull Manufacture
The Hov Pod hull is another unique feature, fabricated from HDPE (High Impact Polyethylene). This material is light in weight but very tough with positive buoyancy, so is perfectly matched for small personal hovercraft construction. HDPE has been employed in recent years in for making Formula 1 crash fencing and also artificial replacement joints.
Our technicians put together the Hov Pod in a controlled environment – a production line system that ensure that the correct procedures are easily duplicated. Control of all quality procedures is part and parcel of all stages of manufacture. Our goal, paying giving all our attention to the smallest detail, is total customer satisfaction, and we do this by sticking rigidly to our business wide philosophy to produce world class personal hovercraft that all of our workers can be justly proud.
Craft usability and control
In the past, small hovercraft have been tough to drive and understand how to operate – Hov Pod design team have looked at precisely these features and largely solved them. Hov Pod has undergone literally thousands of hours of practical tests assuring that the balance and service of the vehicle make driving it really easy and intuitive to operate.
The design team have focused particularly on the interplay of the hovercraft control,functionality, stable operation, efficiency, responsive control and balanced movement, making sure that new operators are rapidly confident and at ease with the hovercraft handling. The majority of users find that they can handle the Hov Pod well withing ten minutes, taking it through lengthy graceful slides under control and all practical maneouvres.
The Hov Pod solve the problem of “plough in” – IAPSS System
Ever since their first conception hovercraft have had a handling problem known as plow-in. In some operating conditions, the front of a hovercraft can dive into the water and if it isn’t compensated for, make the vehicle come to a stop very quickly. This can make the pilot and passengers be launched heavily to the front of the craft, and needs the operator to be watchful to stop this possibility. There are personal hovercraft producers that just accept this is a problem that ‘goes with the territory’ or attempt to combat it by including rudder-type elevators and added controls.
Hov Pod kew that this as a big issue affecting safety and ordered a 12 month project to search for an answer in the hope of eliminating user worries during use. Out of this project study came the IAPSS system which is integrated into the craft design. Hov Pod are very gratified to say that up to the present time, Hov Pod hovercraft have never been subject to the dangers of plow-in.
Drive Belt Arrangement
The engine assembly and drive system were devised with care throughout the design phase and an assembly driven by belts was the favorite. The design team ruled out the necessity for a gear operated fan as this would mean that the engine would elevated to head height reduced stability and more unstable roll tendencies.
One engine best or more?
The Hov Pod hovercraft has just a single engine, controlled using a handlebar-type twist throttle in the the same style as a motorcycle or personal speed boat, which gives operators intuitive access to the control features. Raising engine revolutions in a controlled manner raises the vehicle up and away towards the direction in which the handlebars are tube concerned about controlling more than a single engine, or cutting out power to the wrong one by mistake.
Issues with lowering the wrong engine revolutions in a two engine craft at a bad time can cause:
- The vehicle to stop lifting and come to a violent stop while still moving with full thrust and power.
- The hovercraft can lose forward thrust and steering capability whilst still travelling forwards, maybe towards an obstruction on a completely inflated skirt.
Further Hovercraft Controls
A lot of hovercraft craft include aircraft type elevators with possible reversing systems –
our design approach was to maintain simplicity. By giving special care to the control, feeling and fast responsive time of the Hov Pod personal hovercraft, these additional control features are not required. In terms of control, the Hov Pod hovercraft can be put through sweeping turns or undertake tight turns in enclosed areas like marinas or bays. The balance and functioning of the vehicle means that it can be turned on the spot when travelling over both
firm terrain and calm water.
Inland salt water operation
Hov Pod is specifically designed for inland salt-water situations by making use of enhanced fabrication methods and construction materials. This significantly reduces the possibility of corrosion, leading to increased life and better reliability – the hovercraft still looks great after being used in such tough environments.
The usual engine exhaust piping and engine mounts go through a process which aluminumises the metal to stop corrosion and to cope with raised temperatures. The exhaust system is additionally fitted with a uniquely designed stainless steel which resists rust.
In the manufacturing process the Hov Pod’s engine is dismantled and treated with an anti corrosive sealant in spray form invented by Boeing.
Hov Pod makers recommend its operation in environmental conditions which don’t exceed force 4 gales. However, or structural tests and safety consideration during operation, the hovercraft fully tested in situations in excess of this standard.
Lower operating noise levels
When first conceived, hovercraft were always regarded as noisy, so a huge goal for the Hov Pod design team was to explore various means to bring down noise levels as low as possible. Compared to many craft, you’ll find that Hov Pod integrates a one metre diameter duct. Some hovercraft have less diameter duct than this that needs a higher fan velocity to create the required lift and thrust, which naturally means higher levels of vibration and therefore noise. The bigger duct diameter helps to enhance the efficiency of the propeller and needs a lower velocity fan to give a similar performance.
A further factor relating to noise was the use one engine. A craft with two engines would need to have another
engine mounted at the front end of the hovercraft craft creating more vibration and noise right in front of the operator.
The Rotax engine used is specially chosen as it is a low speed type engine. The 4 stroke engine (Weber) generates more power which lets our design engineers to angle the fan blades such that they work in a more efficient manner, which reduces the noise further from this 4 stroke engine which is already quiet.
Engine assembly and mounting also attracted much thought. We thought that the biggest issue with a fan driven through a gearbox is that the the engine has to be elevated to around head height. Mounting an engine at this level hugely affects the level of vibration felt by operators and also people watching. The Hov Pod hovercraft is belt driven so that engine vibration and noise can be enclosed behind engine covers with a close fit and the double skin
of the vehicle hull.
The engine is mounted lower down in the hovercraft craft to reduce the air turbulence into the fan cowling. Any turbulence upstream significantly raises noise levels at the fan cowl, lowering the overall effectiveness of the hovercraft. Reduced efficiency means that a bigger engine is required, and so higher noise levels result for a similar performance level.
The hovercraft exhaust system is passed underneath the craft together with the lifting air and this additionally helps in dissipating noise levels.
To reduce noise even further, the engine exhaust system delivered as standard has its own specifically designed stainless steel silencer in two stages, which is inherently rust resistant.
Operator and Passenger Comfort
The equilibrium and production set-up of the Hov Pod personal hovercraft are essential to its simplicity of operation and the craftsmanship used to ensure this simplicity makes sure that the Hov Pod user experience is really comfortable and smooth.
Sixty five separate skirts give the Hov Pod hovercraft its one of a kind air suspension action and absorbs any impact as the craft moves over waves rough water. Compared to a personal speedboat or other small watercraft, our clients report that the Hov Pod gives a really comfortable experience.
The Hov Pod upholstered seat is specially made sporting deep padded each and every trip. The padded seat is big enough for two grown ups and a couple children up to a weight of 325 kilos for starting up on water, 400 kilos for starting from rest on land.
The ergonomics of the hovercraft control system assures that the handlebar operating mechanism is intuitive to operate. The Pro Grip® cushioned handle bar grips are made for comfort and simplicity.
Finely balanced rudder flaps mean that maneouvring the hovercraft craft is a piece of cake as they let the operator turn the vehicle around using just using their fingertips.
Comfortable safety handles are mounted in convenient locations for passengers
Set up for starting on water from rest with up to three adults
A crucial element in the spec for all personal hovercraft is the biggest weight it will carry and still have the ability raise itself from rest on water.
Hovercraft can support a bigger load when on land than when traveling on water water because of the fact that water displacement is not as much as when on land. The Hov Pod loading of 325 kilo is a realistic number when starting from rest on water, the figure for land starts is a lot higher.
Towing the hovercraft – The Roll On/Roll Off trailer
The Hov Pod is just the right size to be pulled easily with a car, allowing clients to go to areas normally not accessible to other vehicles. Hov Pod hovercraft can be operated from any flattish sandy beach, at low or high tide. The trailer possibility means that you are limited to utilizing just public designated slipways. Use the Hov Pod personal hovercraft at weekends and at holiday/vacation time to visit rivers, fresh water lakes, or grasslands. Hov Pod can be used to get to areas for wild life photography, making videos, hunting trips, fishing expeditions and just plain exploring.
Hov Pod can be operated with our rapid roll on/roll off trailer so that the hovercraft can be made ready for use in under five minutes. The trailer option means that the Hov Pod hovercraft is the perfectly sized package for fast response rescue operations – bigger craft are very limited by their sheer size and the requirement for big expensive transporters. For mudflat, sandy beach, snow/ice and rescue from flooded areas, Hov Pod small hovercraft can get to difficult areas rapidly in when speed and fast response makes the difference between life and death.
Above all, Hov Pod is designed with focus on FUN!. The options of two size engines were chosen for their enhanced power to weight ratio, so you could be off and away for expeditions,thrills and an exciting time with up 3 big adults or 2 grown ups plus 2 children.
Hov Pod is the perfect size for moving around, handleability and great performance and ensures that you can negotiate a whole gamut of exciting maneouvres. We especially had a desire to produce a hovercraft that very responsive and simple to handle. Additionally it was also critical that the vehicle was not little, sluggish or with not enough power.
Hov Pod was designed with thrills in mind – thrills that can be shared with family members and friends alike.
There exist a great many elements where safety can be related not just design and production of the Hov Pod hovercraft but use of the craft, operating it and the control. The list below explains the Hov Pod’s features that enhance safety:
Hov Pod has just one engine which improves ease of operation and intuitive handling. Having one engine additionally reduces the possibility of related injury to the operator as they don’t need to be concerned about shutting down the wrong engine if there is an emergency need.
Hov Pod’s system and scheme of controls ensures simple operation and a superior handling response for the operator, which assures safe operation of the hovercraft.
The robust craft fabrication with integral HDPE hull and crash plates, affords the operator firm assurances that Hov Pod small hovercraft can take heavy knocks to the underside, both side, front and back.
A lot of hovercraft craft don’t have guards to the rear. To reduce the possibility of a foreign object entering the fan cowl, Hov Pod is protected by mesh guarding both rear and front.
The Hov Pod personal hovercraft comes with with electrical and manual starting arrangements, so when the operator can’t start it with the key, they can use the manual system and pull-start it.
The Hov Pod has an hour/revolution counter and complete engine monitoring gauges so that the operator is kept informed about vital engine functioning temperatures and engine revolutions. These two gauges reduce the possibility of expensive engine damage repair and make it a piece of cake to determine the overall hours of engine operation.
The hovercraft battery has a disconnect coupling that is fast acting, so that at any time the vehicle can be rapidly and simply isolated in a short time in the interests of electrical safety and any maintenance needs.
Hov Pod is furnished with a 12v charge system so that extra electrical fittings can be added as needed.
Our hovercraft includes an EM engine stop attachment cord and separate stop switch mounted on the console.
For easy use and electrical safety, the hovercraft is supplied with circuit breakers instead of fuses. These can be easily reset but fuses have to be replaced with new ones.
When stopping quickly on water, many Hovercraft can abruptly dig in or swerve off to one side. The Hov Pod can be quickly brought to rest on water in a smoothly controlled line without the possibility of digging-in, or swerving to the left or right.
The separate skirt segments ensure that any possible damage done is restricted to a limited area of material. Nonetheless, even when a few segments are damaged, the Hov Pod hovercraft will still be operational.
Our small hovercraft was designed and thoroughly tested for stable operation and use. A rescue situation stability trial was undertaken where 2 adults rescued a 100kg person from the water in choppy conditions by taking a sitting posture on each side of the hovercraft. In rescue type operations Hov Pod’s innate stable characteristics means the operator can stand upright in the vehicle for searching the horizon and enjoy better visibility.
The Hov Pod fuel tank is mounted in a well aired part of the vehicle beneath the back seat. This assures that no toxic fuel fumes can accumulate in a closed space or close to electrical circuits.
Hov Pod can have a 23-litre or 33 litre gas tank(the bigger size is for the 4 stroke Weber engine).
We recently successfully passed the French Centre de Securite Des Navires approval certification for marine craft. This strict test includes technical inspections, plus fire and safety tests, flooded floatation tests and
safe handling during operation. We are delighted to report that the Hov Pod personal passed with top marks.
Components We Use
Hov Pod has a bigger than needed, sealed-type car battery which gives regular and reliable start ups and improved safety guarding against the egress of possibly explosive fumes and corrosive battery fluids.
Our small hovercraft has a drive belt specified for our purposes by Gates®, the foremost global manufacturer of drive belts. The Gates drive belt is simply the leader in it’s field and provides longevity and operation that is free of trouble.
Slip proof Mats
The hovercraft is furnished with great style colour anti-slip flooring mats (color co-ordinated)provided by Hydro Turf®. This gives the operator and other passengers enhanced protection against slipping when getting in and out
of the vehicle when surfaces are wet.
Eyes for Towing
The Hov Pod towing eyes spreads the pulling load from a big backing plate right through to the front of the vehicle
by means of a specially strengthened GRP tape reinforced for unidirectional pulling.
Servicing and Maintaining The Hovercraft
The Hov Pod was conceived so that entry for maintaining and service is fast and simple. Engine plates are removable
in just a few seconds to give complete access to all parts of the engine and the associated electrical connection boxes.
Choosing an engine with air cooling has reduced the intricacy and issue of maintaing, making sure that service cost and linked expenses are low.
Even though it would be less expensive to fit standard battery electrical terminals, Hov Pod’s unit sports quick disconnects for easy removal when carrying out regular maintenance or if working on the engine. This is a good example of our design approach – safety first, then easy operation.
The engine control and gauge assembly panel was designed as an attachment connecting to the main system by rapid disconnect sealed connecting terminals. The whole control assembly and gauge cluster can be simply taken out for servicing and test work.
The Hov Pod Styling
Our hovercraft design draws a lot of flattering attention. The physical appeal of the vehicle was given close attention throughout the developmental stage. Hov Pod buyers can definitely expect to enjoy plenty of admiring looks during each trip.
Mirrors in plastic molded cases are standard fitments, and ca be ordered in a variety of great colours, which makes for enhanced visibility when starting and moving.
All components are stylishly fabricated to the highest marine standards. Our hovercraft an very sleek looking vehicles and they are much desired for employment as tenders for the bigger super yachts.
The Hov Pod also has a removable tray under the seat which drops in – for snacks, beers and spare parts, you name it. A lot of storage space is there for picnic supplies, or even for explorations of a long duration. The useful drinks tray could be packed with ice for cold drinks on a sandy beach away from other people!
We have provided a sealed compartment directly in front of the driver for, sunglasses, mobile phones, radios etc.
Hov Pod User Manual
Hov Pod is supplied with a comprehensive user manual. All aspects of craft use, maintenance and service are covered. The manual includes photo images and detailed routines explaining how to service the craft for optimum operation making it easy for you to understand the craft and maximize your fun.
Hov Pod Customer Customer Support
Our Network of Global Dealers
Reaction International is busily building a world wide network of authorized sales teams to service local sales and to give local technical support for customers. Authorized dealers and their associated technical staff go through a course of thorough training so they are able to give great support.
This global network ensures good peace of mind and confidence because:
- Dealers in you area or service outlet personnel are available to give direct and speedy advice and ongoing training.
- The hovercraft can be properly serviced according to the maker’s proper guidelines.
- A host of spare parts are readily available world wide.
Any specs are subject to change with not notice. Hov Pod is a registered trademark of the company Reaction International Ltd.
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