VK3TLY Electronics, Ham Radio And Hovercrafts

Electronics, Ham Radio And Hovercrafts


Hov Pod Hovercraft

Design Philosophy



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, Hov Pod is the best small hovercraft on the market offering great value for money.

When we introduced Hov Pod to the leisure market, we realised that consumers would compare our product to other marine products available and may ask themselves why they should choose our product over another. This document will help our customers understand our design philosophy and will explain why Hov Pod should be chosen.

The aim of this document is to outline Hov Pod’s superior qualities and explain why the Hov Pod should be chosen over other marine products that are available.

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Design and Manufacture


Hov Pod uses the very best components and manufacturing processes available.

The following points detail just some of the factors that were considered during the design and engineering of the Hov Pod:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • All other parts of the steering system are made from fully polished 316 presentation standard high chromium marine grade stainless steel.

  • 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.

  • When designing the Hov Pod we considered whether to use one or two engines. The use of one engine to provide both the lift and thrust was decided on as this minimises 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.

  • 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 so that any rips or damage due to surface debris will be limited to individual segments. The segments are easy to repair and each takes approximately two minutes to replace by the customer.

  • The manufacture of the hull is sub contracted to experts in GRP and composite boat manufacture. This ensures that the Hov Pod hull construction uses the very latest materials and is up to the very highest standard of workmanship.


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

Where our designers have been able to save weight they have done so without compromising craft 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. Our designers believe this approach will give our users greater peace of mind, increased life and reduced repair bills.

Hov Pod incorporates extensive features to minimise the risk of damage to the craft:

  • A rubber impact bumper strip surrounds the craft to protect it against minor scratches and knocks. Positioned under this rubber strip is a full aluminium impact plate. This plate protects the craft against impacts that could crack and break exposed GRP. To absorb the energy of even greater impact the aluminium strip is attached at the point where the hull and deck are bonded together so any impact taken by the aluminium strip is reinforced by and transferred to the thickest section of the craft.

  • During design it was recognised that a single skin could puncture or crack, and start taking on water whilst afloat. So, the underside and front of the Hov Pod is constructed as a double skin with marine sandwich foam buoyancy. This style of construction ensures that the craft is far more rigid and solid than a single skin construction. Thus the Hov Pod is far more durable and able to meet day-to-day stresses. Hov Pod’s double skin also ensures a far greater degree of protection should a solid object be hit at speed.

  • The underside of the Hov Pod is fitted with twin longitudinal aluminium skids that protect the craft when coming to rest on the beach and other surfaces.
  • The front corners of the Hov Pod utilise Kevlar® wear patches. Kevlar® is used in the manufacture of bulletproof vests, and is one of today’s most advanced impact absorbent materials. The use of this material in these critical areas offers greater levels of safety and protection from accidental damage.

  • The front and rear ends of the Hov Pod incorporate large aluminium impact wear plates. The plates are placed in critical areas to offer greater reliability and safety, protecting the hull by directly absorbing any impact.

  • In Hov Pod’s design phase we recognised the need to strengthen load areas at operator access and seating. This is achieved during hull manufacture through the use of a strengthening foam sandwich core.

  • For high levels of durability the Hov Pod hull uses isothalic resins and incorporates a layer of quadraxial 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 fibre 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.

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

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

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To ensure the highest levels of quality, we have selected components manufactured by long established companies. This ensures that the latest manufacturing techniques and quality standards are adhered to in the component production and design.

Hull Manufacture

The manufacture of the hull is sub-contracted to experts in GRP and composite boat manufacture. Their 25+ years experience in boat manufacture ensure that the Hov Pod hull construction is manufactured to the very highest standards required for marine usage. The hull manufacture takes place in a temperature controlled environment using logged batch Scott Bader materials.


Assembly of the Hov Pod takes place in using a controlled, repeatable process production line system. Quality control is built into 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 world class products that every member of our company can be proud of.

Customer Satisfaction

Our commitment to quality at every stage of the Hov Pod design and production ensures that customers do not experience long-term problems such as improper curing, softness, poor mechanical properties, shrinkage, and discoloration. Manufacture of any glass fibre 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 moulding. 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 and give our customers complete satisfaction.

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Operational parameters

Craft use and control

Historically, hovercraft have been difficult to operate and learn how to use so Hov Pod’s designers have addressed these issues and resolved them. Hov Pod has completed hundreds of hours trials and test ensuring that the overall balance and set up of the craft make using it very simple, natural and easy to use.

Our designers have worked closely on the interaction of the controls, ergonomics, stability, performance, response and balance, ensuring that first time users quickly become confident and comfortable with craft operation. Most people find that after ten minutes they can control the Hov Pod through long controlled graceful slides and manoeuvres.

The Hov Pod solution to "plough in" - the IAPSS System

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 it by adding elevators and additional counter-measure controls. Hov Pod recognised this as a major problem and conducted a year long study to find a solution hoping to eliminate user anxiety during operation. From this study emerged the IAPSS system (Integrated Anti Plough Skirt System) which is designed into the craft. We are proud to report that, to-date, Hov Pod has never suffered plough-in.

Drive Belt

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

One engine or two?

The Hov Pod uses one engine, which is controlled by a handlebar twist grip throttle the same as a motorbike or personal watercraft giving users immediate familiarity the controls. Increasing 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. Problems with a two engine hovercraft lowering the wrong engine revs at the wrong time can cause either:

  • The craft to lose its lift air and stop violently whilst still travelling with maximum thrust and speed.
  • The craft to lose its thrust and steering air while still sliding along possibly towards an object on a fully inflated skirt.

Additional Craft Controls

Many craft incorporate elevators and/or reversing mechanisms but our design philosophy was to keep it as simple as possible to use. By paying particular attention to the operation, feel and responsiveness of the Hov Pod, these extra controls are not needed. In terms of manoeuvring 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.

Inshore salt water use

Hov Pod is designed for inshore salt-water environments using advanced construction methods and materials. This greatly reduces corrosion, increasing longevity and reliability, keeping the craft looking good after use in these conditions.

Standard engine exhaust and engine mount brackets undergo an aluminising process which coats the metal to prevent corrosion and withstand high heat levels. The exhaust is also fitted with its own specially designed rust resistant stainless steel two-stage silencer.

During production the Hov Pod’s engine is stripped down and coated with an anti corrosion spray sealant developed by Boeing.

Hov Pod designers recommend its use in conditions not exceeding force 4. For structural integrity and operational safety the craft has been regularly tested in conditions exceeding this recommendation.

Reduced noise levels

From their introduction, hovercraft have been perceived as noisy, so a major objective for the designers of the Hov Pod has been to find ways to reduce noise levels to a minimum. In comparison to other hovercraft, you will notice that Hov Pod incorporates a high efficiency one-metre duct. Many craft use a small diameter duct that requires a high fan speed to create the necessary performance, resulting in high noise levels. The large duct works to maximise the effectiveness of the fan blades and requires a slower turning fan to produce the same performance.

Another factor affecting noise level was whether to use one or two engines. A two engine craft would have the second engine located at the front of the craft giving additional noise directly in front of the driver.

The Rotax engine has been specifically selected because it is a low revving engine.

Engine configuration was also given a lot of consideration. It was felt that the main problem with a gearbox driven fan is that it necessitates the engine being raised to head height. Having an engine at head height greatly affects the noise levels experienced by passengers and spectators. The Hov Pod drive is via a belt so that engine noise can be encapsulated behind close fitting engine covers and the double skin surfaces of the hull.

The engine is placed low in the craft to minimise and reduce the disturbance of air into the fan assembly. Any upstream disturbance greatly increases noise at the fan, reducing the overall efficiency of the craft. A reduction in efficiency necessitates a larger engine, thus more noise for the same performance.

The Hov Pod exhaust is directed under the craft with the lift air and this also helps dissipate noise emissions.

To further reduce noise levels the standard engine exhaust is also fitted with its own specially designed rust resistant stainless steel two-stage silencer.


The balance and set-up of the Hov Pod are critical to its ease of use and the engineering incorporated to create this ease of use ensures that the Hov Pod ride experience is very stable and smooth.

65 individual tailored skirts give the Hov Pod its unique air suspension system and cushion any impact as you ride off waves and choppy water. In comparison to a boat or personal watercraft users comment that the Hov Pod offers a very comfortable ride.

The upholstered Hov Pod seat is custom made with deep padded cushioning to give the user even greater levels of comfort during every ride. The seat is large enough to seat two adults and two children up to a total payload of 250 kilos.

The ergonomics of the Hov Pod controls ensure that the simple handlebar operation is instinctive to use. The Pro Grip® cushioned grips are designed for comfort and ease of use.

Carefully balanced rudders make manoeuvring the craft simple as they allow the user to turn the craft using almost fingertip control.

Stylish safety grab handles are conveniently situated for passengers

Set up for on water starts with three adults

A very important factor in the specifications for any hovercraft is the maximum load it will carry and still retain the ability for a start when stationary on water.

Hovercraft can carry a larger load on land than on water due to the fact that displacement on water is less than on land. The Hov Pod load figure of 250kg is a true figure for starting on water, the land-based figure is much higher. During recent live tests with rescue organisations the Hov Pod recovered a person from rest in water during force 4 to 5 conditions increasing the combined payload to 280kg (39 stone) more than proving its capabilities.

The craft is constructed from high strength quadraxial composite to give maximum strength. A thinner hull construction was not considered because even though this would reduce weight and allow greater loads to be carried it would reduce the durability and quality of the craft. In fact our designers had quite the reverse in mind, adding weight using a quadraxial mat foam sandwich to strengthen impact areas and stiffen the craft in all working areas.

Towing - The "RollOnRollOff" trailer

The Hov Pod is small enough to be towed easily behind a car, extending customers to visit areas inaccessible to other craft. Hov Pod can be used from any suitable beach, at any tide. The trailer option ensures that you are not restricted to using public slipways. Take Hov Pod at weekends and on vacations to explore rivers, lakes, inland grass areas. Use Hov Pod to reach areas for photography, video filming, hunting, fishing and exploring.

Hov Pod can be used with our fast "RollonRolloff" trailer so that the craft can be readied for use in less than 5 minutes.

The trailer option also ensures that Hov Pod is the ideal size for rapid response rescue - larger hovercraft are severely hindered by size and the need for large expensive transport solutions. For mud, sand, ice and flood rescue, Hov Pod can reach inaccessible areas quickly in situations where speed and rapid response can make all the difference.


Hov Pod has been designed with the emphasis on fun. Its 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.

Hov Pod is the ideal size for handling, ease of use and performance ensuring that you can undertake a whole range of thrilling manoeuvres. Our designers particularly wanted to create a craft that is responsive and easy to control. Also it was 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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There are many aspects where safety relates not only to the design and engineering of the Hov Pod but also craft use, operation and handling. The following list details the Hov Pod’s safety features:

  • Hov Pod uses a single engine which increases ease of use and instinctive operation. Using a single engine also limits the risk to the user as they do not have the worry of closing the wrong engine down should there be an emergency.

  • Hov Pod’s set up and layout of controls offers simple operation and responsive handling for the driver, which ensures safe use of the craft.

  • The sturdy craft construction including the double skin foam sandwich floor and impact plates, gives the user increased reassurance that Hov Pod can withstand impact to the underneath, side, front or rear.

  • Many craft do not incorporate rear guarding. To minimise the risk of anything entering its fan Hov Pod is fitted with both front and rear mesh guarding.

  • Hov Pod is fitted with both electrical and manual pull starting, so if the user can’t turn the key and start the craft they will be able to use the manual pull.

  • Hov Pod is fitted with an hour/rev counter and full engine gauges to keep the user informed of important engine operating temperatures and RPM. These gauges cut the risk of needless but costly engine damage and make it easy to monitor the total operating hours.

  • Hov Pod’s battery is fitted with a quick disconnect coupling so that at all times the craft can be quickly and easily isolated in seconds for electrical safety and maintenance.

  • Hov Pod is fitted with a 12v charging system so that additional electrical items can be fitted as required.

  • Hov Pod incorporates an emergency engine stop lanyard and console mounted stop switch.

  • For ease of use and electrical safety the Hov Pod is fitted with circuit breakers rather than fuses. Circuit breakers can be reset whereas fuses need to be replaced.

  • When stopped suddenly in a straight line on water, other Hovercraft can suddenly dig in or spin to the side. The Hov Pod can be rapidly stopped on water in a smooth controlled straight line without the risk of suddenly digging-in, or spinning to the side.

  • The individual segmented skirt ensures that any damage sustained is limited to a small area of skirting. However, even with damage to several segments, the Hov Pod would remain operational.

  • Hov Pod has been designed and tested for stability. A rescue stability test was conducted where two people recovered a 100kg person from the sea in rough conditions by adopting sitting positions on the side of the craft. In rescue or patrol operations Hov Pod’s natural stability means the driver can stand tall in the craft for long-range search and visibility.

  • Hov Pod’s fuel tank is positioned in a ventilated section of the craft under the rear seat. This ensures that no dangerous fuel vapours can gather in an enclosed compartment or in close proximity to electrical circuitry.

  • Hov Pod uses a 23-litre removable fuel tank so that all refuelling can be undertaken by simply swapping fuel tanks over. This offers increased safety from fuel vapour ignition in the craft as it is possible to refuel the tank away from the craft.

  • Hov Pod recently passed the French Centre de Securite Des Navires marine certification approval. This stringent process involved technical/fire/safety inspection, flooded buoyancy tests and operational use. We are pleased to say that Hov Pod passed with flying colours.

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Component Use


Hov Pod uses a larger than required, sealed car battery which offers regular and reliable starting and safety against the escape of dangerous explosive gases and burning battery acids.

Drive Belt

The Hov Pod uses a drive belt recommended for our application by Gates®, the leading worldwide manufacture of belts. The Gates belt is world class and offers durability and trouble-free operation.

Slip Mats

The Hov Pod is fitted with stylish colour co-ordinated anti-slip floor mats from Hydro Turf®. This offers the driver and passengers maximum safety against slippage when boarding and alighting the craft in wet conditions.

Towing Eyes

The Hov Pod is fitted with a towing eye which spreads the load from a large backing plate through to the front of the craft using a reinforced GRP unidirectional tape.

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Service and Maintenance

The Hov Pod has been designed so that access for maintenance and servicing is quick and easy. Engine covers can be removed in seconds to give full access to all areas of the engine and sealed electrical boxes.

Selecting an air-cooled engine has greatly reduced the complexity and problems of servicing, ensuring maintenance and associated cost is at an absolute minimum.

Although it would be cheaper to specify conventional battery terminals, Hov Pod’s battery is fitted with a quick disconnect coupling for ease of removal before undertaking routine or engine work. This is typical of our design philosophy, safety and ease of operation.

The engine control gauge panel has been designed as a sub assembly connected to the main wiring system by quick disconnect IP67 sealed connector blocks. Complete control panel and gauges can be easily removed for bench service work and testing.

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Hov Pod’s design attracts a great deal of complimentary attention. The aesthetics of the craft were closely considered at every stage of development and design. Hov Pod owners can expect to be the centre of attention during every outing.

Moulded mirrors are fitted as standard. The mirrors are available in a range of colours, for greater visibility during take-off and operation.

Although it would have been much easier to rivet and glue GRP parts together leaving a rough visible edge, this would have greatly lessened the appeal and look of the craft. Our design philosophy has been to produce a craft free from any unsightly edges or rivets. All parts are aesthetically made to marine standards. Hov Pod is an extremely good looking craft and is much sought after for use a tender for the larger quality super yachts.

The Hov Pod incorporates a removable under seat drop in tray for food, drinks and spares. Plenty of storage is available for a picnic, or for supplies for longer explorations. The handy drinks tray can be filled with ice for a cooling drink on a remote beach far from the maddening crowd!

We have provided a sealed compartment directly in front of the driver for, sunglasses, mobile phones, radios etc.


A range of standard coloured skirts, upholstery and graphics are available. Hov Pod owners can select corporate colours and logos to promote their business, and customise the graphics with domain names or names of yachts when using Hov Pod as a tender. Whatever the application, whether rescue, patrol, survey craft or leisure, the Hov Pod provides terrific scope to personalise the final appearance through use of colour combinations in GRP, skirt materials and graphic decals.

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User Manual

Hov Pod is supplied with a comprehensive user manual. All aspects of craft use, maintenance and service are covered. The manual includes photo images and detailed routines explaining how to service the craft for optimum operation making it easy for you to understand the craft and maximise your fun.

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Customer Support

Global Dealer Network

Reaction International is creating a global network of authorised dealers to provide local sales and technical support. Authorised dealers sales and technical staff undertake a programme of comprehensive training so they can provide complete support. This network ensures great peace of mind because:

  • Local dealers or service agents are available for on the spot advice and training.
  • The Hov Pod can be correctly serviced and maintained to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Spare Parts are easily available.

All specifications are subject to change without notice. Hov Pod is a trademark of Reaction International Ltd.

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