Advanced Hovercraft Technology
When Peter Ward, founder of Hov Pod, an engineer wanted to purchase a small hovercraft for recreational use, he quickly realized that as hovercraft are weight dependent vehicles, and developers of small hovercraft are usually race fanatics, hovercraft design evolution was overlooking the small and medium duty recreational and commercial hovercraft market. You may have asked yourself the same question, “why are there 1.5 million Jet Skis registered in the USA alone (not to mention of road 4X4, snowmobiles etc), yet small hovercraft have never been commercially developed, after all, hovercraft are far more comfortable than a jet ski or boat, and air cushion flight allows more fun! Race hovercraft are expected to reach speeds of 75 mph – to do this, developers use ultra thin glass fiber hulls – hit a tree and your hovercraft disintegrates.
Peter developed his own hovercraft design, focusing on safety and durability. The first generation Hov Pods (ACX) were manufactured from glass fibre, but with double thickness floors coated in bullet proof Kevlar. We added shock pads, evolved different engine configurations, from introduction in 2002 until 2006. Initially, we used Hirth engines, but then switched to Rotax for better international support, quieter performance, improved power output and better documentation.
Emphasis on safety eliminated unnecessary controls, so we dispensed with trim levers, separate lift and thrust engines, gearboxes, to ensure that anyone could drive the Hov Pod without special training. OK, so the Hov Pod will not win any races, but it will reach 45 mph, plenty fast enough for most people and for transport. Look at the back of most small hovercraft, and you will find no rear cage – the safety cage we fit to every Hov Pod is considered by racing designers a hindrance to air throughput. It is, but we much prefer to keep our customers and spectators safe from flying debris, should a fan break during operation. We ensure fuel and batteries are not situated in the same compartment to minimise fuel ignition; other designers overlook basic stuff. Most race hovercraft located the hot exhaust pipe around the outside of the hovercraft – any spectator could get easily burned, so we fit exhausts under a protected engine cover.
16 Years of Advanced Hovercraft Technology Improvements
In 2006, sales were going so well, we were running into supply problems keeping up with demand, so we went to the bank, and they very kindly backed us to invest a considerable sum of money in HDPE tooling. In 2008, the new Hov Pod SPX hulls rolled out of the factory. HDPE is extremely strong and impact resistant, far stronger than glass fibre. People often ask – what happens if you stop on water, will the Hov Pod sink? Good question, many race designed hovercraft sink if you stop on water, and simply walk to the back of the hovercraft to restart the engine. The Hov Pod HDPE hull is extremely buoyant – it has been tested by various government authorities, it is our smaller craft but is still able to take over one ton in weight before water ingresses into the hull – a small elephant could fly one! (with a little training)
In 2008, we rejected neoprene coated skirts, as they degrade over time when exposed to UV, and Hypalon, in favour of a very strong polyurathane / nylon woven skirt material. Tear this material an inch, after we help you cut it, and win a bottle of champagne, no one have managed to beat our challenge since the skirt material was introduced!
In 2009, we introduced the Weber 4 stroke engine. The Hov Pod SPX 120HP is Turbo charged, so is ideally suited for commercial, rescue and military patrol use. The turbo power is very impressive, and will really lift the Hov Pod out of shallow water in record time.
In 2010, we refined the HDPE hulls further by switching supplier to a UK based supplier who demonstrated a thermal controlled composite process, to make the Hov Pod hulls stronger yet lighter. All new Hov Pod SPX hulls are now manufactured using this process, so are known as Hov Pod SPX TCC models.
The Hov Pod SPX Series,, the only hovercraft in the world made from HDPE and it is super tough. Options and customization are available.
Contact us now for further details or to arrange a test drive.
Strongest and Most Durable Advanced Hovercraft Technology
After 5 years in development in 2014 we introduced the Hov Pod Infinity Series a safe, high quality, easy to use, strong & durable hovercraft with a payload up to 1105lbs (500KG) on water or 1491 Pounds (675 Kgs) on land and capacity for up to 9 people and which can be supplied with a wide range of options to suit any application & budget.
The Hov Pod Carbon Infinity Hovercraft is uniquely manufactured from carbon fiber and Kevlar which means it is lightweight, extremely buoyant, and able to take all terrain punishment all day long from ice, flooding debris, stones, rocks logs and other obstructions. The Hov Pod skirt material is a specially developed polyurethane / nylon weave & fabric combination with anti-rip properties, double layer reinforcing & incredible wear resistance for continued operational capability & high speed safety.
The Hov Pod Infinity Series, the only hovercraft in the world made from Carbon Fiber, Kevlar and weight for weight is the toughest production hovercraft on the market.
We recently conducted rescue training for various military and special forces teams where we were told to launch the craft in many different areas. You cannot always go from a nice smooth slipway we were told (quite correctly) so we tested the craft leaving and returning to broken concrete ramps, boulder strewn banks, deep gullies that we dropped into, mangrove bushes and all manner of other areas. The idea was to see what punishment the craft could take on these rescue missions before repairs were required. We were quite staggered that after several days of this virtually no damage had been sustained apart from light marking and small local surface abrasions and indents.
CAD Advanced Hovercraft Technology
Latest computer aided design and computer numerically controlled robot technology is used to ensure extremely tight tolerances for engineering parts such as drive frames and gear pulley assemblies. By having a clear product objective, Peter has achieved his goal to produce a safe and extremely easy to fly hovercraft that is strong, buoyant, available in choice of color, with choice of engines to suit leisure or commercial applications.
Hov Pod are known for innovative hovercraft that exploit the latest technological advancements in engineering. The Hov Pod design ethos is to offer hovercraft products that are easy & safe to use, simple to maintain & made from the strongest available hull materials to maximize the crafts lifetime and do away with the need for endless hull and skirt repairs and craft maintenance.
Hov Pod has been manufacturing hovercraft for 16 years and our solutions are created from thought, experience, research and development, technology, foresight and a belief in our product’s future.