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Hovercraft Events - Past and Present

University Hovercraft Challenge

Kent

I have been contacted by the University of Alabama about staging a race in Alabama, March 2013.
Below is a quote from thier proposal for a team.

Proposal for a New University of Alabama Hovercraft Team
I. Introduction
We are proposing a new engineering design and construction team at the University of Alabama. Our proposed team will design, construct, and race a full-size, single-seat hovercraft against Auburn University in a competitive venue. A past Auburn University hovercraft is shown below as Figure 1. Our current definite team members include four seniors in Aerospace Engineering, although we have several more underclassmen interested in the project. In addition to the outreach to University of Alabama underclassmen, we believe there can be substantial benefit to the community at large through the public race and educational demonstrations to local schoolchildren. Having a hovercraft team supports the College of Engineering’s reputation for student design teams while providing engineering seniors and underclassmen in different engineering disciplines to work together in a technical setting.

II. Project Goals
Our project goals include not only meeting the technical challenge of designing and building a functional hovercraft, but also the satisfying real world challenge of organizing a hovercraft race. Hovercraft racing is an exciting sport that has existed for over thirty years, and the official hovercraft organization of the United States, the Hoverclub of America (www.hoverclubofamerica.org), holds several sanctioned races in the United States each year.

The Hoverclub of America sets numerous standards for hovercraft racing, ranging from safety requirements, race course design, and competition classes. Our goal is to build a craft that meets these standards and race it in the official fashion. Current Hoverclub of America race regulations stipulate a 60 – 40 % water – land distribution for race courses, including a fast paced agility course and longer endurance races as shown below in Figure 2. The combination of the fast – paced acceleration-based course and the efficiency-dominated endurance racing require a balanced approach and allows innovative design to come to the forefront in hovercraft racing. Our goal is to exercise our engineering education in creating a craft that meets both of these requirements effectively. 

We have been in communication with the Hoverclub of America about sponsoring our own hovercraft race in Alabama. This would be the one of the only officially sanctioned hovercraft racing events in the South, and the first of its kind in Alabama. The experienced race organizers from the Hoverclub of America have been receptive to the idea, and have even offered to promote the race to its members nationally. In addition, the Auburn University hovercraft team is very interested in this race as well, providing a great opportunity for our universities to work together in friendly competition. As this race would be one of the first of its kind in the South, it is our goal to foster more interest in hovercraft and, by extension, the engineering profession.

In summary, our goals include designing the craft, completing construction, and organizing a race to be held in Spring 2013. Based on the past success of the Auburn University hovercraft team, we feel that these goals are attainable. In addition, our goals with this project are to foster design opportunities within the College of Engineering for underclassmen and to create interest in engineering within the community at large.

I will be meeting with them Monday Sept 24. 

All racers should be ready for this event if it develops as it will be the first race of the 2013 season.


HCA Race Chairperson / Director

Vice President, Americas, World Hovercraft Federation