With my first hovercraft ride on the horizon, I started this hovercraft website project as I discovered site after site about my favorite craft with limited or outdated information available online.
I couldn't believe such a cool vehicle category had been overlooked for so long. After all, the invention has been around for over fifty years. It seemed such a waste it hasn't taken off to the popular appeal I think it deserves. I set out for a quest to reclaim all but forgotten hovering territory.
And of course, that first hovercraft ride kept me motivated to get the word out to the masses :)
After all, with just a few inches of air lifting the craft from ground (or sea) level, the hovercraft will cover murky terrain virtually no other vehicle can. It's still more of an aircraft than a marine vessel, so the limited one-dimensional roads are pretty much off limits. But we're talking OFF-road vehicles anyway!
Hovercrafts typically tend to appeal to technology aficionados like maritime and aeronautical engineers or professional specialists who require access to areas other vehicles just can't reach. With such niche interest, I was looking for an angle with a bit more fun in the mix.
Surely, driving one these would take some degree of skill and training (not that a little challenge would stop me). As I researched the various crafts offered by manufacturers, I stumbled onto the Hov Pod, a hovercraft designed specifically for leisure and recreation. I was smitten at first glance (online of course).
So I fired an email to the Hov Pod crew (who dug my site by the way – you'll find me listed on the technical resources page here). They agreed to meet me while I happened to be visiting the UK (I think some amphibious deity was at work here). I was going to get my first hovercraft ride ! That's the beauty of working on a project you actually have a passion for.
Just a few months into developing the website, and I was scheduled to fly onto my first hovercraft ride – Woohoo !
Of course, we documented my visit for the benefit of friends and family – I mean, what's a hovercraft ride without bragging rights?
The Hov Pod offices and workshop are located in Southampton, the birthplace of the hovercraft. It's actually where the now famous Sir Christopher Cockrell demonstrated the modern implementation of the 'hovercraft principle' for the first time (with nothing but a vacuum cleaner and a couple of catfood cans mind you!). So I took the train in from London to this beautiful medieval port city, and after a brief tour of the facility, we were off to the docks.
I was actually surprised to find out how easy the Hov Pod was to learn for a newbie like me (remember, this was my first hovercraft ride after all :). Check out this video – after a brief run through the controls, I was up and hovering in literally seconds (count 'em in real time). Check out the transition from ground to the bay water – not even a hiccup!
And here's my second time around with my confidence up. I really need to find a way to take one of these home with me
And, just to prove I hovered around the bay for a while and came back in one piece:
So, I got my wish for a ride. Getting all-year access to one of these at home is more of a production of course. Trust me, I'm working on it, and you bet I'll post an update on this site soon for the world to know.
Happy hovering !
P.S. – I'd love to hear about your hovercrafting experience. Drop me a line on my contact page and share your hovering fun too!
For more info about the Hov Pod, price, specs, etc, fill out the Hov Pod form here