Simply the Best Hovercraft!

Best Hovercraft

Simply the Best Hovercraft

Our brand strap-line “Simply the Best” serves to remind all of us at Hov Pod HQ to strive to be the best; to design and manufacture the best products and solutions.

More than this, it reminds us of the fundamental principle of design, to produce products that are simple to use and maintain. It also reminds us to strive to offer the best sales and after care service we can to our customers. We believe that marketing brand strap-lines should be more than just catchy marketing slogans – our products have been evolving over the last 20 years to improve product quality, performance, operation and safety. 

Best Hovercraft
Best Hovercraft

Product Quality and evolution

20 years ago, we designed a glass-fibre 3 seater hovercraft, finally introduced at a UK boat show in 2002. The Hov Pod ACX 52 and 65 models looked great, were easy to operate, had many safety features such as rear safety cage to fan assembly, that other suppliers still don’t fit today.

The Hov Pod ACX caught the public’s attention, and demand outstripped supply, we couldn’t keep up so we designed the Hov Pod SPX manufactured from HDPE, a material which is strong, naturally buoyant and easier to repair than glass fibre. We exploited CAD and CNC technology to produce hovercraft parts with extremely tight tolerances, to reduce vibration and resulting wear, to ensure long component life.

Improved Delivery Times

New production techniques allowed us to produce hovercraft in batches of 9 – we offered a range of colours, so needed additional storage facilities to maintain stock of red, blue, yellow, teal, orange and grey hulls. The SPX model overcame delivery delay times, slashing delivery from months to days.

A new model version (3rd generation) the SPX TCC reduced weight, and improved the strength of the hull.

Larger Commercial, rescue and Military Hovercraft

Customers and dealers asked us for larger 9 seater hovercraft, but the SPX TCC production process had size restrictions, so we designed and introduced the Hov Pod Carbon Infinity model manufactured from Carbon Fibre / Kevlar and HDPE components.

Performance

Stronger lighter materials such as Carbon Fibre allow hovercraft to lift more weight, but performance can also be measured in terms of reliability. Early engines proved to be unreliable, so we had to replace these. Sometimes an engine can be very good, but the supply chain has problems, so if a supplier cannot deliver on time, or offer support in certain countries, so we needed to change supplier; this can cause delivery issues.

Operation and maintenance

Product evolution is customer led – we responded when customers complained that neoprene coated nylon skirts ripped after months of operation, then customers complained that the replacement Hypalon skirts failed, so we replaced these with anti-rip nylon skirts. The skirt segment design minimises replacement costs – no need to change a complete skirt, individual segments cost less, longer skirt life reduces cost of ownership, reduces unnecessary shipping costs.

Safety

Operator, passenger, bystander safety is of paramount importance. Competitor and homemade glass fibre hovercraft have cracked, allowing water to ingress into the hull, sinking the craft. Some hovercraft models plough into water due to weight imbalance and design, so we have designed the Hov Pod to overcome these issues. We fit rear and front fan guard cage assemblies to keep hands away from rotating fan blades, many suppliers still don’t fit rear guard assemblies – not everyone can read a warning sticker.

Future Development – Solution led

Many customers who use hovercraft in commercial, rescue, survey and military applications have asked us to source complimentary products, so with partners we now develop solutions to meet customer requirements.

For example, we supply water treatment solutions to reduce disease if drinking water is contaminated by flooding. We supply tethered drones with full surveillance capability for search and rescue, and drones with heavy payload capability, able to drop vital supplies. We offer robotic drones capable of automatic battery exchange, to significantly extend operation times.

Planting mangroves by hovercraft

Planting mangroves by hovercraft

Hov Pod Hovercraft are working with developers and charitable organisations to use hovercraft to speed up the planting of mangroves. 

planting mangroves by hovercraft
Using hovercraft to plant mangroves

Mangroves provide many benefits, from soaking up CO2 to providing coastal protection, and providing a nursery for a wide range of marine life, fish, crabs etc, which in turn provide food for birds and land animals. Mangroves save coastal regions from the incredibly destructive force of tsunamis, saving lives, protecting homes. The dense roots of mangroves trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land, thus stabilising the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons is much more severe. By filtering out sediments, the forests also protect corals and seagrass meadows from being smothered in sediment.

Hovercraft can reach tidal areas faster and more safely

Hovercraft operate in shallow waters and over mud, so provide access to areas for seed collection. Seedlings are then dispersed over a wide area. Much less expensive than aeroplanes, and with a far greater payload and operating range than drones, a single hovercraft can plant more mangrove seedlings more cheaply than can be achieved by any other methods. Seedlings are planted on in biodegradable coir pots (using coir from local suppliers).

Whilst the hovercraft flies slowly over the mudflats, the planter releases the seedlings in a line from either side of the hovercraft. As these seedlings take root and grow, so they reseed their local areas to provide a dense mangrove canopy, and in doing so, soak up CO2, protect the environment, and reduce coastal erosion. Hovercraft fly at a height of 8 inches, so make no impact on existing plant or sea life. Hovercraft do not create a wake to erode the fragile coastal areas. Hovercraft do not pump exhaust fumes into the water, and have no propeller to get snagged, or cause damage to manatees.

If you would like further information, or like to support the development of this innovative approach to helping the environment, please contact us for more information.

Hovercar

Hover-car, how to design

Hovercar

Cars That Fly

Modern mechanix promoted the concept of Hover-cars back in October 1958, the same year that Ford engineers demonstrated the Glide-air concept. Many science fiction movies feature futuristic hovercars; such as The Fifth Element, Blade Runner, A.I., I, Robot and many video games also.  

Designing a hover-car
How to design a hovercar

According to Wikipedia, the closest real-world devices to hover cars are hovercraft.

Dream versus reality, how engineers approach development of Hover Cars differently

One thing car developers don’t seem to take on-board when trying to design hovercars, is weight versus power. Car developers appear to take a car and to make it fly, add more power. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to appreciate that powerful engines are heavy. For hovercraft to fly, they need to be lightweight, and use engines designed for high-power to low-weight applications, such as use in a microlight aircraft.

Still today, the nearest thing we have to a hovercar are personal hovercraft like the 4 seater Hov Pod SPX TCC 120HP Turbo, or Carbon Infinity 120HP.

How a hovercraft engineer would design a hovercar

It you take a hovercraft and try engineer it to make it road legal, you would need to add wheels, lights and brakes. Hovercraft are very weight sensitive, and have more difficulty starting from an on-water start than when starting to hover on land, due to a pressure wave created on water known as The Hump. Typically, a hovercraft will lift 50% more weight when starting on land - payload is critical to success.

Understanding Payload

Depending on how many pies the driver and passengers have eaten, (your collective weight) the payload might lift half a ton of weight when starting on water. If you were to reverse engineer a hovercraft to design a hovercar, your passenger payload would diminish as you add the weight of wheels and lights. Hovercraft don’t tend to have brakes since they usually slide on the surface to stop.

To design a working hovercar, I suggest you start with a hovercraft and then make it roadworthy. Weight is very important, so use carbon fibre to ensure that the vehicle is light yet strong enough to withstand a few collisions - glass fibre would be too heavy and prone to disintegration on impact.

Keith Moon - The Who

Any hovercar designed to drive on roads will be subject to road-use legislation - Keith Moon, drummer with The Who once drove a hovercraft to his local pub following a ban for drink driving. The police stopped him, told him off for driving on the road, but he was reported to have explained to the police that whilst hovering, he wasn’t actually driving on the road, but a few inches above it! Legend!

Hovercraft / Drone Applications

Hovercraft with drone

Hovercraft / Drone Applications

Hov Pod Hovercraft now offer a number of hovercraft / drone packages suitable for rescue, patrol, commercial and military applications. 

Hovercraft with drone
Hovercraft with drones overcome problems

As our hovercraft products have evolved, customers have asked whether we can assist to deliver complete packages combining both hovercraft and drone technology, to assist with search and rescue, border patrol, anti-terrorist, drug and people smuggling operations.

Product Evolution

Hov Pod introduced the world’s first production hovercraft to exploit Carbon Fibre / Kevlar composites. These materials help us increase the hovercraft size and their payload capabilities – previous HDPE hovercraft were restricted in size due to manufacturing restrictions.

Carbon Fibre is very strong yet lightweight, ideal for hovercraft construction. When you divide the purchase price by the additional payload capability, you can get a price per dollar cost in terms of number of pounds lift per $. No other hovercraft can match the high value that carbon fibre delivers; a simple calculation demonstrates the incredible value of carbon fibre construction. Since introduction of the Carbon Infinity, sales to commercial / rescue and military sectors has rocketed, taking Hov Pod into new commercial / rescue / military markets.

Extensive capability through our partner’s program

Customers now ask – How do I overcome this problem with hovercraft / drones? We maintain an extensive database of drone / hovercraft solutions to suit many diverse applications. We work with many drone manufacturers to deliver complete solutions to overcome a wide range of problems, put us to the test !

Overcoming Limited Drone Battery Life

We now offer robotically operated battery swap out stations to change and recharge drone batteries, allowing customers to deploy drones 24/7

Tethered Drones

We now offer hovercraft with tethered drones, powered by the hovercraft, to survey border areas or conduct lengthy search and rescue operations

Larger Payloads

We now supply drones capable of lifting 50 Kgs, able to deliver water filtration bottles, lifesavers, space blankets during natural disasters.

Future Developments

Hov Pod currently work with a number of drone suppliers and developers to deliver solutions requested by our customers. Over the last 20 years, we have built up a wide distribution network of dealers, distributors and consultants. We closely monitor drone developments, and look forward to engaging with new partners to solve various problems. If you have a drone requirement, or have developed a drone technology that you think our customers would appreciate, we look forward to hearing from you.

Extend Drone Range

Extend Drone Range

Extend Drone Range

It is now possible to extend drone range by automating battery recharging and replacement to make them a practical consideration for commercial and military border patrol, or search and rescue operations.

 

Hovercraft Base Station

The Hov Pod Hover Home Base Station offers an autonomous solution to store, recharge and automatically exchange drone batteries. 12 batteries are stored in the unit, and a robotic operation swaps out tired batteries to replace them with fully recharged batteries. Great for remote surveillance, border patrol and reducing the operational costs associated with helicopters and manned stations. The Hover Home can be mounted on our unmanned or manned hovercraft or other vehicles. 

This new development together with autonomous hovercraft operation can provide continuous remote border patrol. From the control room, the hovercraft can be tasked with following a flight plan determined either by GPS coordinates, or controlled remotely. From the hovercraft, one or multiple drones can operate. As batteries loose power, the drones can return to the base station to swap out tired batteries. The base station will robotically replace the tired battery, with a fully charged battery. Tired batteries are than recharged, powered by the hovercraft engine. 

Unmanned Hovercraft
Extend Drone Range

World’s First Unmanned Hovercraft

Extend Drone Range

World’s First Unmanned Hovercraft

Robotic Drone Capability

Hov Pod have developed the world’s first unmanned hovercraft which can be supplied configured with autonomous drone capability to robotically change power packs; or work with tethered drones powered by an onboard base station.

Unmanned Hovercraft
Unmanned Hovercraft

Locate flood victims, terrorists, smugglers and unexploded bombs, remotely

This hovercraft helps first responders during emergency disasters to access difficult to reach areas, and provide real time information and detect survivors.

Gathers data, without limitation of drone power, range and operating time

Real all-terrain capabilities to deliver real-time intelligence along any river, swamp. Operates over fast running rapids during flooding, inland coastal area, and land 24/7. This game changing development expands drone range / time operations to deliver real time surveillance, at far lower costs than alternative solutions. Improves security, saves money.

Save lives during flood emergency rescues, patrol borders to deter terrorists, drug and people trafficking. Detects and maps unexploded ordnance coordinates.

The Hov Pod unmanned Hovercraft can be operated remotely from a control centre, and go anywhere, over land, sea, sand, mud, ice, snow, over rapids and fast running water; indeed over any flat surface. The truck sized hulls carry up to nine people, and are constructed from Carbon Fibre / Kevlar Composite - hulls carry a 5 year warranty.

Search and Rescue - Flooding Emergencies

During national emergencies, defence services are routinely called upon to assist with search rescue operations. Hovercraft are far cheaper and more effective than expensive helicopters. Ideal for flooding emergencies, as hovercraft have no propeller to get snagged by street furniture, wire fences or floating debris, this unmanned (or manned) hovercraft will offer advanced search and rescue capabilities. No downdraft, long winch times, or the expensive running costs associated with helicopter operations.

New Autonomous Drone Technology eliminates range / time restrictions

Whereas battery powered drones suffer severely limited range and operating times, the unmanned Carbon Infinity hovercraft offers automatic robotic drone battery switching and recharging, or tether-powered drones with unlimited power, long range cameras, thermal imaging cameras, low light cameras, sensors, sonar, radar and 3D mapping to deliver intelligence in real-time from areas that are inaccessible to any other operations. This unmanned hovercraft significantly extends your range of operation time and distance.

Border Patrol to deter terrorist, drug and people smuggling

The autonomous all-terrain hovercraft will revolutionise land-air- water-based, security, military and surveillance operations. First responders and army personnel need not be put at risk during national emergencies or during border patrols.

Detect and map Unexploded Ordnance

Can be configured with GPS mapping and sensors to detect and map unexploded ordnance over land, shallow water or inter-tidal areas.

Bottom Line - Cheaper to purchase than the staffing and service costs of operating a helicopter, go further, see more, at lower cost (budget restrictions need not compromise defence capabilities or risk life).

Hov Pod will be exhibiting these capabilities at DSEI, September 12-15, 2017, London, UK, on stand N7-263.

For further information, visit www.hovpod.com

Carbon Fibre Hovercraft

Carbon Fibre Hovercraft

Hovercraft for Commercial, Rescue and Military Applications

I have been asked to detail more information about our Carbon Fibre Hovercraft, and explain why Carbon Fibre is so useful for constructing hovercraft. 

Carbon-Fibre Hovercraft
Carbon-Fibre Hovercraft

All hovercraft are weight sensitive like helicopters, so we look for materials that are lightweight yet without compromising durability.

We combine Carbon Fibre with Kevlar to construct the Hov Pod Carbon Infinity Hovercraft. Measured in units kN.m/kg, Kevlar measures 2514 and Carbon Fibre measures 2457 – compare this to Glass Fibre at 1307 to appreciate the superior characteristics of Carbon Fibre with Kevlar. Carbon Fibre is also extremely rigid, so ideal for hovercraft design and construction.

Certainly for the commercial hovercraft market, Carbon Fibre with Kevlar provides durability to withstand the sort of treatment hovercraft are expected to take when undergoing commercial, rescue and military work.

Affordability

Without compromise, the lightweight characteristics deliver exceptional high strength to low weight ratios. You can measure this by comparing payloads for various hovercraft. Although Carbon Fibre is more expensive to produce than glass fibre, because you can construct larger hovercraft with lower weight, the resulting payload is far superior. To measure this, simply compare the price of a glass fibre or aluminium hovercraft against Carbon Fibre / Kevlar and divide the price by the on-water payload.

How to compare on price / measured by performance

Your calculation might look like this – $20000 /divided by 500 lbs on-water payload lift equals $40 per pound payload. Use this formula to see the real benefits in terms of performance for Carbon Fibre compared to Glass Fibre or Aluminium Hovercraft.

Other benefits

Far better delivery times than aluminium hovercraft.

Easier to operate.

Further reading about Carbon Fibre – Further Reading

Video

 

Personal Hovercraft

Personal Hovercraft

Personal Hovercraft
Personal Hovercraft

How do personal hovercraft differ from other hovercraft?

Personal Hovercraft need to be safe to operate and more durable than race hovercraft.

Weight considerations

All hovercraft are very weight sensitive, so to win a race, racing hovercraft have ultra light hulls, and lack the on-water characteristics that personal hovercraft require.

 

A more durable personal hovercraft hull is bound to be thicker thus heavier than a lightweight race hovercraft one. Many suppliers produce glass fibre hulls, which may look nice, but are more prone to damage should the hovercraft collide with another object. Hov Pod hovercraft hulls are either manufactured from HDPE or Carbon Fibre with Kevlar.

Personal hovercraft need to fly over and land on water, so good buoyancy is required.

Sufficient power to start on-water.

When starting from an on-water start, hovercraft create a bow wave called the HUMP. Getting over the bow wave created when starting takes considerable effort, and requires the driver and passengers to move their weight forward during the process of getting “over hump”

Hovercraft suppliers should always quote the on-land and the on-water payload, because starting on land is always easier, due to no hump - hump only affects hovercraft when they start on water.

Payload

Always ask the supplier - what is the on-water payload for this hovercraft? - some manufacturers fudge the answer by quoting on-land payload only. Generally, hovercraft carry 50% less weight when starting on water, so if you stop on water, you may need to swim home and abandon your hovercraft if it does not have sufficient power to get over hump.

More powerful engines

Don’t imagine that by simply installing a more powerful engine that you can get better performance - more powerful engines are far heavier than smaller specialist engines with high power to low weight characteristics. If you buy the cheapest hovercraft available, you’ll get an under-powered lawn mower engine designed for cutting grass, not designed for marine use.

 

Oil Rig Security Hovercraft

Oil Rig Security Hovercraft

Oil Rig Security Hovercraft

Oil rig foreign workers have come under attack from pirates operating in the Niger Delta, and Algeria – workers have been taken hostage, gas and oil production has been significantly been reduced. No oil company can tolerate attacks on their staff. Apart from the human cost, terrorist attacks severely affect production. 

Oil Rig Security
Oil Rig Security Hovercraft

High risk areas include the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa and the Gulf of Aden, Northern Indian Ocean and the Northern Mozambique Channel.

Hov Pod now offer Carbon Fibre / Kevlar-protected oil rig security hovercraft to deter attackers, and pursue them into shallow water areas. Hovercraft can be operate via remote control, and employ drones with live-streamed night vision video cameras to orchestrate deterrent operations.

Strong defence deters attacks, and off-shore technology is now available to protect workers, maintain production. 

Drone Technology

Hov Pod also partner with specialist drone manufacturers to provide complete defence packages. Drones can be supplied configured with infrared night vision cameras, remote, autonomous or tethered drones. Drone range can be extended through the deployment of automatic robotic battery exchange systems. Hov Pod supply drones capable of lifting 50 Kgs so a number of additional equipment can be added to deter terrorist attacks. 

Hovercraft Fire Rescue

Hovercraft Fire Rescue

Fire Fighting Option for Hov Pod Carbon Infinity Rescue Hovercraft 

Hov Pod now offer a bespoke fire fighting option to tackle fires around airport perimeter lakes, mudflats, tidal areas  or indeed in any areas difficult to access by regular fire truck. This option further extends the rescue capabilities of the Carbon Infinity Hovercraft presently used for mud and ice rescues.

Due to the use of lightweight but exceptionally durable properties of carbon fibre and Kevlar, the new Carbon Infinity hovercraft has a superior payload capability, with sufficient lifting capacity for a crew of 2 plus the addition of the high performance twin discharge pump, foam monitor and 120 Litre foam tank unit.

Hovercraft Fire Rescue
Hovercraft Fire Rescue

Quick deployment, multiple rescue uses

Fixings for the fire fighting module enable quick deployment, so when not configured for fire fighting applications, the hovercraft can also be retrofitted with the victim carrying stretcher for mud, ice and water rescue situations. Air pumps can be added to help reduce suction during mud rescues.

The Carbon Infinity Hovercraft is easy to operate with minimum operator training required.

Reaching fire victims in an emergency in inaccessible areas  

Many locations are inaccessible to regular fire fighting trucks, so the Carbon Infinity can quickly deliver fire fighting equipment to tackle emergencies. Homes and chalets built on stilts are very often in shallow waters or mud so are inaccessible to boats and hard to get to by other means owing to distance from shoreline. Equally homes on small islands in ice seasons are impossible to reach.

How the system operates  

The cockpit mounted fire pump draws water from shallow water, lake or puddles in mud flats via a filter (alternatively a suction line from a fire truck based on shore can be run). The foam is discharged to a movable foam monitor nozzle mounted in the cockpit or a hand held foam branch pipe. The system can utilise direct water discharge for cooling or draw foam concentrate from an optional on-board mounted 32 gallon (120 litre) foam tank.

The flat bottom profile of the hovercraft hull provides a stable working platform, and a support gantry allows a single operator to stand up, to direct the foam / water at the fire source.

Specifications  

  • The Hov Pod Fire Fighting Option can be typical configured with:  120 litre AFFF foam tank.
  • 22HP Fire pump with 1 monitor outlet and/or 1 hand line branch pipe outlet.
  • 200 gallons/min at 100psi up to over 500 gallons/min at 15psi.
  • Or for Flood Relief 500 gallons/min at 15psi drainage pumping.

Hov Pod are happy to discuss variations to this specification to address other customer requirements.    Other options available include the gantry, flashing lights, spot light, headlights, and a stretcher platform.

For more information, please contact us via www.hovercraft.org