International Model Hovercraft Seminar
18th/19th October 2003
The Hovercraft Museum at Lee-on-the-Solent hosted what is believed to be the first event of it's type in the UK over the weekend of the 18th and 19th October 2003.
A total of 20 registrants were presented with three papers then they took part in two racing categories for the two cups presented by the sponsors, Hovercraftmodels.com.
The presentations were
Man powered Hovercraft Project More
Following the presentations and before lunch a man powered hovercraft was demonstrated outside the hanger.
Models on display
Many fine models were on display with some of them being unusual. One was a three ducted fan model that looked like the Enterprise form Star Trek. Another was ic powered with the motor mounted at 45 deg in the centre. The air flow was split 50/50 for thrust and lift. This was quite a fast machine if a little unstable.
Mark had his SRN4 and SRN6c models which are very impressive.
Hovercraft Racing More
It was planned to have practice sessions after lunch then qualifying heats during the afternoon. Brian and his team had laid out a course in the hanger which would allow time trials to take place.
There was such a diversity of machines that no racing took part on the Saturday. Everyone was enjoying each others machines and the technicalities each had overcome.
Another factor was the course that had been laid out was very difficult to get round even though there was no wind to contend with.
So racing took place during Sunday morning. A briefing was held where Mark and Kevin explained how the racing would operate. The two classes, 600 motors with 6 cells and an open class, were to be run however it transpired that most of the participants were on 8 cells so the 600 class became 8 cell class.
A course was set up in the car park using traffic cones with a starting gate marked out in tape.
Lots were drawn to give the running order for each class and racing started.
To be fair both classes had races where the machines were not very well matched however everyone entered into the spirit and raced when it was their turn. Up to four models at a time raced against each other.
The wind was very strong and proved a real challenge to control the models but most managed to get round the course.
The winner of both classes was Fran Oakey with his 700 powered Griffon. The addition of a gyro helped him stay the course. Unfortunately his model blew over when demonstrating during the afternoon. This happened twice and on the second event the model sustained rather a large amount of damage.
Several youngsters were attending and I shall always remember the little Tayio Edge that completed the course even though the batteries were running down fast at the finish line. The crowd joined in to egg him on to cross the line. A very valiant effort.
Racing completed the two cups were presented to Fran and a debrief of the weekend took place.
Every one was in agreement that they had enjoyed a great weekend. The museum is the right place for such an event and the next can't come quick enough.
A special thanks must go to Brian Russell and his team at the museum. They did a great job and provided some excellent food.
Roll on next year