Hovercraft Events / News / Information
June 2003 - In this issue:
- SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! HoverWorld Expo 2004: Endurance Race Australia
- Guest Editorial: Chris Fitzgerald, Chairman, HoverWorld Expo 2004
- The World's First Hovercraft Race
- Fast Facts about Canberra, Australia
Welcome to the
premiere issue of HoverWorld Insider …
… the free email newsletter designed to represent, and serve as a central
resource for, the air cushion vehicle/hovercraft world. Our mission is to embrace,
promote, and provide communication between the various niches of the ACV world – manufacturers,
clubs and societies, racers, cruisers, enthusiasts, rescue organizations and
As the newsletter evolves, special sections will be devoted to the
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- Organization News (from Hoverclubs, museums, associations, etc.)
- HoverSport News (racing, cruising, etc.)
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- Guest Editorials
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HoverWorld Expo 2004: Endurance
Get ready for the New Year's Eve of your lifetime! From 28 December
2004 to 3 January 2005, the hovercraft world will gather in Canberra,
Australia for HoverWorld Expo 2004. If World Hovercraft Week 2002 USA
left you 'riding on air,' plan to soar even higher at this new and
unusual event. (See a pictorial review of World Hovercraft Week 2002
What makes HoverWorld Expo 2004 so unique?
The World's First Hovercraft Endurance
This is a chance for hovercraft racers to debut an entirely new form of racing:
a daylong 100-lap endurance race. The starting lineup will be determined by
handicapping. Based on each craft's best time, the slowest craft will start
first, the fastest will start last. This will expand the field of entries to
welcome everyone and every type of hovercraft, since a racing model is not
required. Novices, world champions, women, juniors, celebrities – anyone
Prize Money, Appearance Money, Discounted
Making this event affordable to everyone is a top priority. Each craft that
makes at least ten laps around the course will receive appearance money to
offset the cost of shipping containers. Substantial cash prizes are being arranged
for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place race winners. And travel deals are being arranged
to make it easy for you to bring the whole family. In addition, Neoteric Hovercraft,
Inc. will provide a handsome purse for the World Speed Record Challenge: $10,000
(US) for the top speed, providing the current world speed record (137.4 km/h)
is increased by 10 mph to 153.5 km/h or more. Start building that record-breaking
craft now … it could put $10,000 in your pocket!
A chance to commemorate an important
hallmark in hovercraft history
HoverWorld Expo 2004 will take place on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, the
site of the World's First Hovercraft Race, held on 14 March 1964. You'll meet
Allen Hawkins, the winner of the World's First Race, along with other original
participants. What a great opportunity to experience just how far the hovercraft
world has come in the last 40 years!
A chance to celebrate the New Year
What's better than Australia? Australia on New Year's Eve! HoverWorld Expo
2004 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to herald in a new era in hovercrafting
- while you ring in the New Year in magnificent Australia!
To keep you updated as events unfold, a new issue of HoverWorld Insider
will be published each month, and an official web site will be launched
in the near future.
President, Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.
Chairman, World Hovercraft Week 2002 and HoverWorld Expo 2004
After nearly 40 years, I can still vividly recall the enthusiasm surrounding
the world's first hovercraft race in Canberra. We original participants
were filled with a spirit of self-reliance, and intrigue with newness,
a frontier mentality, a naiveté of technological difficulties,
a dream to experience the sensation of hovering, and a possibility
for fame and fortune. Despite craft that wouldn't start, only five
that managed to stagger across the finish line, and fame and fortune
that is yet to arrive, we w3ere undaunted by difficulties and remain
That undaunted spirit, widely evident among those in the world of
air cushion vehicles, is the strength behind the evolution of the hovercraft.
We've come a long way since those early hovercraft days. Hovercraft
racing is now an established sport, and the vehicle that was once an
obscure, peculiar hobby is now used in most major nations of the world
for a diversity of important purposes. Hovercraft save lives, transport
tanks and troops, ferry passengers, enforce laws, control wildlife,
assist in agriculture, entertain the public and are enjoyed by private
enthusiasts across the globe.
In early May I visited Australia to meet with Canberra officials and
both Hoverclub and Australian Hovercraft Federation representatives
to initiate plans for an event what will allow us to both step back
in history and to move forward into the future. HoverWorld Expo 2004
will commemorate the World's First Hovercraft Race, as well as illuminate
and advance 40 years of hovercraft evolution in the sport, the technology
and the utility.
I'm pleased to report that our proposal was met with high enthusiasm
on all fronts. The Canberra Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society
organized the 1964 event, and has given their full support to HoverWorld
Expo 2004, with Chairman Neville Probert serving on the event's Board
The Canberra Tourism & Events Corporation believes that HoverWorld
Expo 2004 meets the criteria for its Events Assistance Program. We
are in the process of submitting the detailed risk management assessment
and securing the $20+ million insurance policy required by the National
Capital Authority. Once approved, the HoverWorld Expo 2004 event budget
will be submitted to the Canberra Tourism & Events Corporation
for their consideration of providing an assistance package to develop,
market and promote the event.
The CEO and several representatives from the National Capital Authority
were extremely helpful and positive, and hope to have either the Governor
General or the Prime Minister serve as event patron. Chris Jobson,
National Capital Promotions Events Officer, spent a full day driving
me around Lake Burley Griffin to visualize the layout of the event.
Officers from the Australian Federal Police offered their full cooperation,
and boated Chris Jobson and me about the lake and up and down the river
to plan the race, the speed record challenge and the cruise. To illustrate
the level of local support we're receiving in Canberra, Lake Burley
Griffin is off-limits to all power vehicles -- but an exception will
be made for HoverWorld Expo 2004.
While in Australia, I had the pleasure of talking with the ACT Chamber
of Commerce & Industry and the Australian National University.
I also spoke with past officials of the World Hovercraft Federation,
and met with officials from the Hoverclub of Victoria and the Australian
Hovercraft Federation, all of whom are eager to support HoverWorld
Expo 2004. In the words of Colin Dainty, Treasurer of the Australian
Hovercraft Federation, "We're really, really excited about this
The Australian Hovercraft Federation will run the event, and I have
agreed to serve as Chairman and will accept all liability and responsibility.
The numerous hovercraft manufacturers with whom I've spoken so far
are equally supportive. Former World Hovercraft Federation President
Owen Ellis is fully behind the event and is devoting himself to developing
endurance racing craft.
The Australian media are already supporting the event. During my visit
to Australia, the Canberra Times published two feature articles about
HoverWorld Expo 2004.
We are organizing the event to make it as easy as possible for everyone
to attend. The dates were chosen so as not to interfere with the 2004
World Hovercraft Championship in Berlin and to make it easier for European
and US participants to come to Australia in their off season. We plan
for HoverWorld Expo to have a presence in Berlin, as well as possible
sponsorship. HoverWorld Expo 2004 will serve as a stepping-stone to
the 2006 World Hovercraft Championship in Malaysia, as Malaysia will
be prominently involved in HoverWorld Expo 2004.
We are garnering prize money, appearance money and travel discounts
to make the trip affordable for all, and bringing in two separate firms
to secure a level of financial sponsorship that will be a first for
the hovercraft world.
HoverWorld Expo 2004 will be an all-inclusive event, patterned after
last year's World Hovercraft Week in Terre Haute, but expanded to include
even more activities. Besides the world's first Hovercraft Endurance
Race, a cruise on the Molonglo River, and the World Speed Record Challenge,
the event will again encompass the CACTS International Conference on
Air Cushion Technology and the 2nd World Symposium on Hovercraft Rescue.
You can also expect an elaborate hovercraft history exhibit.
The most concerted effort ever undertaken for a hovercraft event is
now in progress. The result of this effort will give you an event that
surpasses World Hovercraft Week 2002 in Terre Haute. Our goal is to
assist you in every way so that you can hover to new heights down under
next year in Australia!
The World's First Hovercraft Race
In April 1964, Flight International (London) published the following comment
about The World's First Hovercraft Race:
"March 14, 1964 may become a famous date in ACV [Air-Cushion
Vehicle] history, for on that day, at Canberra, the world's first competitive
hovercraft trials took place. An analogy may be drawn between the Canberra
trials of 1964 and the Rheims air meeting of 1909: both mark the beginning
of competitive development in their respective fields, with relatively
primitive machines conceived by enthusiastic experimenters."
More than 30,000 people gathered on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin
in 1964 to watch history being made by ten ambitious entrants, only
five of whom actually finished the race.
Before moving forward into the future of air cushion vehicles in Canberra
2004, we invite you step back 40 years in history to experience The
World's First Hovercraft Race. This outstanding article was contributed
to HoverWorld Insider by Eric Shackle, an Australian writer who attended
the 1964 race.
Fast Facts about Canberra
Like no other city in Austrzalia
Canberra is a fascinating 20th century creation, a city specifically designed
to serve as the nation's capital, while preserving the natural beauty and
spirit of Australia. The site for Canberra and the surrounding Australian
Capital Territory (ACT) was selected in 1908. The city's unique design was
chosen by means of an international competition, won by the American architect,
Walter Burley Griffin. Canberra's name comes from the Aboriginal word for
Located between Sydney and Melbourne in New South Wales, the carefully
planned city is a masterful blend of two city centers -- business and
government -- with swathes of native bush and scenic open areas, a
thriving cultural scene, a sparkling nightlife, and numerous tourist
attractions. Canberra is ideal for those who love the outdoors, but
hesitate to stray too far from a cappuccino or a great glass of wine!
Lake Burley Griffin
Architect Burley Griffin's 1911 visionary design for Canberra called for a
majestic lake to serve as the centerpiece from which the city would radiate,
but it was not until 1964 that Lake Burley Griffin came into being -- just
in time for The World's First Hovercraft Race. The lake was artificially
created by damming the Molonglo River, on which the HoverWorld Expo 2004
Cruise will take place.
Lake Burley Griffin, with its varied and beautifully landscaped 35
km long shoreline, is encircled by a bicycle path and surrounded by
many of Canberra's points of interest. The lake is the ideal location
for commemorating the genesis of hovercraft racing and technology with
an event that will move us into the future!
HoverWorld Insider is published by the World Hovercraft
Organization. All rights reserved.
Copyright (C) 2003 World Hovercraft Organization
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