The Hov Pod Design Philosophy

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Hover Craft For Sale

Introduction


Until now, hovercraft have tended to be backyard vehicles or supplied in kit form, designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. Our design approach has been to take a 20th century invention, and create a 21st century vehicle, designed for the demands of the marine leisure market.


For the combination of excitement, ease of use, manufacturing quality, passenger carrying capacity, safety, durability, handling, comfort, and serviceability, the Hov Pod is the best small hovercraft on the market, and offers great value for money; there is no comparison.


Quality comes at a price, and typically, consumers try to cut costs where it is prudent to do so. We all like to compare aesthetics, build quality, safety features, performance and durability, to get the best value for money.


By introducing the Hov Pod to the leisure market, we realized that many people will be comparing our product to other marine products available, but they may not be familiar with essential aspects of the Hov Pod design. For example, why are weight performance ratios so critical, can I trade performance against ease of use, durability and the safety of my passengers, and what operational advantages does the Hov Pod offer?


Cut corners and costs too far, and occasionally you end up with a product that proves to be very expensive, prone to breakdowns, unreliable and at worst extremely dangerous.


Reading this document, you have already begun to ask essential questions, and we feel confident that the answers provided here will leave you in no doubt as to the Hov Pod’s superior quality.


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The following document looks at many aspects of the design philosophy of Hov Pod.


All specifications are subject to change without notice.


All prices are excluding local taxes and are Ex Works.


Hov Pod is a trademark of Reaction International Ltd.


All Text and Images are Copyright© Reaction International Ltd.

 

Contents


The Hov Pod Design Philosophy............................. 1


Design & Manufacture for quality, reliability and durability.............................. 3


Reliability............................. 3


Durability............................. 4


Quality............................... 6


Operational parameters............................. 7


Ease of use and control.............................. 7


Excitement............................. 8


Inshore salt water usage.............................. 9


Reduced noise levels............................. 10


Comfort.............................. 11


Set up for on water starts with three adults............................. 12


Towing............................. 13


Safety............................. 14


General Safety............................. 14


Ease of maintenance and service............................. 17


Ease of service............................. 17


Styling, ownership and customer backup.............................. 18


Styling............................. 18


Full clear instruction, user and service manual............................. 19


Dealer network and service backup............................. 20



Design & Manufacture for quality, reliability and durability


Reliability


Hov Pod uses the very best components and manufacturing processes available today within the marine and aviation markets. The points below detail just some of the factors that were considered in the design and engineering of the Hov Pod.


ü Electrical connections and all electrical terminations are made in dry compartments and/or contained within sealed boxes using the highest quality marine IP67 sealed inline connectors. When operating on water this offers far greater security of operation than standard exposed terminal blocks and crimped butt connectors.


ü The Hov Pod uses a stainless steel marine steering cable supplied by Teleflex® (the worlds leading supplier of marine steering systems). To give the craft even greater reliability this cable was then modified by Teleflex® to our own specification, to ensure stainless steel construction throughout.


ü All other parts of the steering system are made from 316 high chromium marine grade stainless steel. These parts are of the 316-presentation grade and are fully polished to a standard as seen on high quality sports and cruising boats.


ü Reliability and simplicity are paramount in selecting an engine. The Hov Pod uses a simple air-cooled 2-stroke engine proven by many years’ use in the microlite industry. The simplicity of the design ensures a greater degree of reliability by limiting components such as water-cooling systems and complicated electronics and electrical circuitry as used by both marinised and four stroke engines.


ü In designing the Hov Pod we considered whether to use one or two engines. The use of one engine to provide both the Hov Pod’s lift and thrust was selected as this further minimizes the number of components and electrical circuitry and offers the customer greater reliability and peace of mind. If a second engine were to be used it would need to be situated in front of the cockpit and this has high reliability problems as it is exposed to water ingress when operating in rough conditions or stopping quickly.


ü Many people think that the Hov Pod uses a one-piece skirt. The problem with a one-piece skirt is that if a large piece of surface debris could not be avoided then a large area of the skirt could suffer damage or deteriorate further before being fixed. The Hov Pod incorporates 65 individual segmented skirts to provide peace of mind that any rips or damage due to surface debris will be limited to wholly separate and individual segments. The segments are easy to repair or replace by the customer, taking two minutes to replace one segment.


ü The manufacture of the hull is sub contracted to experts in GRP and composite boat manufacture. Their years of experience ensure that the Hov Pod’s hull construction uses the very latest materials and is to the very highest standards of workmanship required for marine usage.


Durability


ü For all craft supported by air, such as planes and helicopters, weight needs to be kept to a minimum. However whilst wishing to keep the weight down we also needed to maintain a high degree of durability and strength in the crafts design. For its size the craft is fairly heavy, at 250 kilos. This is due to the much-enhanced levels of durability, reliability and safety that are built in to the Hov Pod as standard. Aspects such as a thick double skinned floor, large car battery etc add weight but give far greater security of use.


ü Where we can save weight, we have done so without compromising the crafts quality or durability. For example the Hov Pod uses a high power to weight engine to give great performance characteristics for a minimum weight penalty. In addition to give maximum strength for minimum weight the hull is built using advanced construction techniques and high strength lightweight composites. This approach give users greater peace of mind, increased life and reduced repair bills.


ü Hov Pod incorporates extensive features to minimize the risk of damage to the craft. A rubber impact bumper strip surrounds the craft to protect it against minor scratches and knocks. Under this rubber strip is positioned a full aluminum impact plate. This aluminum plate will protect the craft against knocks that would otherwise crack and break exposed GRP. To absorb the energy and load of even harder impacts the aluminum strip is attached at the point where the hull and deck are bonded together. This means that impact taken by the aluminum strip is reinforced by and transferred to the thickest section of the craft.


ü The bottom and front of the Hov Pod is constructed as a double skin with marine sandwich foam buoyancy between. This style of construction is very important because it ensures that the craft is far more rigid and solid than a single skin construction and that the Hov Pod is far more durable and able to meet day-to-day stresses. The double skin also ensures a far greater degree of protection should a solid object be impacted at speed. We recognized that a single skin could puncture or crack, and start taking on water whilst afloat.


ü The bottom of the craft incorporates twin longitudinal aluminum skids that protect the craft when coming to rest on the beach and other surfaces.


ü The front corners of the Hov Pod utilize Kevlar® wear patches. Kevlar® is used in the manufacture of bulletproof vests, being one of today's most advanced impact absorbent materials. The use of this in these critical areas offers greater levels of safety and protection from accidental impact.


ü The front and rear of the craft also incorporate large aluminum impact wear plates. These plates are placed in critical areas to offer greater reliability and safety by protecting the hull and directly absorbing any accidental impacts or knocks.


ü Design of the Hov Pod recognized the need for strengthening load areas such as operator access and seating areas. This is achieved during the hull manufacture stage through use of a strengthening foam sandwich core.


ü For high levels of durability the Hov Pod hull uses isothalic resins and incorporates a layer of quad axial mat. This material was developed for the aerospace industry and due to its high strength to weight ratio is now the material of choice for high performance glass fiber boat construction. Many other marine craft and hovercraft use a full chopped strand mat (CSM) construction because it is cheaper and quicker to use. This method was not chosen for the Hov Pod because, weight for weight, CSM construction is more susceptible to weak points and damage.


ü Where stainless steel cannot be used all metal components have undergone a marine standard five-stage coating and galvanizing process offering the highest degree of corrosion protection.


ü The duct construction incorporates an inner and outer skin for greater protection against duct damage.


Quality


ü To ensure the highest levels of quality, components are manufactured by companies with years of expertise in their own field to ensure that the latest methods and standards are adhered to.

 

ü The manufacture of the hull is sub-contracted to experts in GRP and composite boat manufacture. Their experience in boat manufacture ensure that the Hov Pods hull construction is to the very highest standards of workmanship required for marine usage. The hull manufacture takes place in a temperature controlled environment using logged batch Scott Bader materials.


ü Such expertise ensures that Hov Pod customers do not experience long-term problems, such as improper curing, softness, poor mechanical properties, shrinkage, and discoloration. Manufacture of any glass fiber object other than by experts, or in a fast uncontrolled manner can lead to poor fibre/resin ratio leading to poor impact strength, soft spots, cracks, and easy surface chipping. Long-term problems with poor GRP construction can include de-lamination that can lead to severe weakening of the molding. Other problems that can occur over time include surface bubbling and blisters, crazing, cracks, hard points, voids and a general poor finish. Time and energy invested at the design and manufacturing stage ensure that the Hov Pod is built to last.


ü Assembly of the Hov Pod takes place in a production line system to a laid down system and procedure. Quality checks are undertaken at every stage of production. Our objective, through attention to detail, is complete customer satisfaction; and we achieve this by adhering to our company-wide ethos to create products that everyone in our company can be proud of.


Operational parameters


Ease of use and control


ü In the past, hovercraft have been difficult to operate and learn how to use. This is not the case with the Hov Pod because it was designed to address all known problems and went through hundreds of hours of testing so that the overall balance and set up of the craft make using it very simple, natural and easy to use.


ü By closely working on aspects such as the interaction of the controls, the feel of use, stability, performance, response, and balance, first time users quickly become confident and comfortable with the operation and are surprised to find that after about only ten minutes they can put the Hov Pod through long controlled graceful slides and maneuvers.


ü Since their first introduction, hovercraft have suffered from an operational problem referred to as plough-in (or digging in). In certain operating circumstances, the nose of a hovercraft will dip into the water and if not corrected, cause the craft to rapidly stop. This can cause the occupants to be suddenly thrown forward, and requires the driver to be on guard to prevent this potential hazard. Some hovercraft manufacturers accept this is an operational problem or try to overcome this problem by adding elevators and additional counter-measure controls. Having recognized this as a major problem, the Hov Pod designers conducted a year-long feasibility project to look into ways of overcoming the problem, to eliminate anxiety during operation. From this research emerged the IAPSS system (integrated anti plough skirt system) which is designed in to the craft. As a consequence, we are proud to report that to-date, Hov Pod has never suffered plough-in.


ü The Hov Pod uses one engine, which is controlled by a handlebar twist grip throttle as on a motorbike or personal watercraft and this means that Hov Pod users are immediately familiar with the style and layout of the controls. Increasing the engine revs gently brings the craft up and away in whichever direction the handlebars are operated. This deliberate simplicity of use means that you do not have to worry about controlling two engines at once or reducing revs on the wrong engine. Lowering the wrong engine revs at the wrong time can cause a craft to lose its lift air and stop very violently whilst still travelling with maximum thrust and speed, or lose its thrust and steering air while still sliding along possibly towards an object on a fully inflated skirt.


ü Many craft incorporate elevators and/or reversing mechanisms but our design philosophy was to keep it as simple as possible for operators to use the craft. By paying particular attention to the operation, feel and responsiveness of the Hov Pod, these extra controls are not needed. In terms of maneuvering the Hov Pod it can be used to undertake long graceful turns or make tight turns in confined waterways or marinas. The balance and set up of the Hov Pod means that you can turn it on the spot on both land and water.


ü The engine and drive arrangement were carefully considered during the design stage and a belt driven assembly was chosen. We eliminated the need for a gearbox driven fan as this necessitates the engine to be raised up at head height and makes the craft harder to control due to decreased stability and increased roll characteristics.

 

Excitement


ü The Hov Pod has been designed with emphasis on fun; the 52hp engine has been selected for its high power to weight characteristics so that you can be off and away for exploration, fun and excitement (from an on water start if required) with 3 large adults or 2 adults and 2 children.


ü Hov Pod is the ideal size for excellent handling, ease of use and performance to ensure that you can undertake a whole range of thrilling maneuvers. We particularly wanted to create a craft that is responsive and easy to control. It was also equally important that the craft was not too small, slow or under-powered.


Hov Pod has been designed so that that the thrill can be shared with your family and friends.

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