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World Hovercraft Organization > HoverWorld Insider > Archives > Issue 1


Hovercraft Events / News / Information

Premiere Issue

June 2003 - In this issue:
- Welcome
- 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 the military.

As the newsletter evolves, special sections will be devoted to the following:
- Events
- Industry News (from manufacturers, military, rescue, etc.)
- Organization News (from Hoverclubs, museums, associations, etc.)
- HoverSport News (racing, cruising, etc.)
- School Hovercraft Projects
- Employment Opportunities and Classified Advertising
- Guest Editorials
- Feature Stories

You are an important part of the ‘HoverWorld’ and we invite your submissions to any of these categories. HoverWorld Insider will be published on a monthly basis; the deadline for submissions is the 15th of the month prior to publication (i.e., the deadline for the July issue is 15 June). We also welcome your comments and suggestions.

Please submit all materials and comments to:
Insider@WorldHovercraft.org

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!
HoverWorld Expo 2004: Endurance Race Australia

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 at www.PictureTrail.com/WHC2002)

What makes HoverWorld Expo 2004 so unique?

The World's First Hovercraft Endurance Race
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 can win!

Prize Money, Appearance Money, Discounted Travel
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 Aussie style
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.

Guest Editorial
Chris Fitzgerald
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 so today.

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 of Directors.

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 event!"

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 'meeting place.'

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!

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HoverWorld Insider is published by the World Hovercraft Organization. All rights reserved.
Copyright (C) 2003 World Hovercraft Organization


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