Difference Between Hov Pod & Hovercraft
The difference between a Hov Pod and a hovercraft is a Hod Pod can be used for recreation, but they are not dainty show craft, Hov Pod are manufactured to commercial specifications, built to run, take punishment and keep running. Hov Pod is the only hovercraft company in the world that offers a 5 year warranty on it's hull.
Our main design priority is customer safety - because hovercraft are weight dependent vehicles, designers generally have to balance between durability and performance, so the Hov Pod is unique in it's application of materials technology.
Hovercraft are weight dependent, and most suppliers use thin glass fiber hovercraft. Thin glass fiber hulls simply aren’t durable enough for all terrain use. Some craft use inflatable hulls which are very prone to ripping if you plan to use the craft anywhere near rough ground, ice, debris, underwater coral or obstructions, rocks, rough ground.
However by using Carbon Fiber/Kevlar or HDPE we can produce a craft without compromising engineering component quality or hull strength.
GRP hovercraft typically:
Have parts that tend to be made from the minimum specification that can be gotten away with.
Belts, frames and other parts etc have limited life or break or fail as weight is kept down.
Durability is compromised in the hull, skirts and engineered parts for the sake of weight saving.
They also leave off essential safety features to save weight and get every last drop of power from the craft.
We feel it important to include, for example a rear duct fan guard - what factory inspector would allow a machine loose out in the environment with unprotected rotating machinery?
The Difference is Our Dedication to Quality
To cut costs, other hovercraft tend to have used "but new"!! engines or up-rated engines, but engine suppliers don’t want their engines to operate in constant stress mode, so will not honor warranty claims if engines have been modified. Hov Pod only use pulley components machined from solid aluminium billets - other suppliers use castings that can crack under load at high speeds.
Why would a supplier compromise your safety, the safety of passengers and spectators? – to save money, use lighter, weaker or cheaper parts and offer a cheaper product!
Our fresh design approach focuses on user and spectator safety, ease of operation, and ease of maintenance. Our designers have created unique anti-plow skirts; we fit unmodified engines with full manufacturer’s warranty. Please take a few minutes to understand how Hov Pod is different by watching our hovercraft guides.
Proprietary Hull Technology
We are the only company to fully manufacture the whole hull and duct incorporating HDPE or carbon Fiber/Kevlar across the full surface, many companies will claim to use it but in fact owing to its cost they use it sparingly. Our Infinity craft we leave natural colored as you can see the black carbon weave throughout the hull.
Most other craft you could not sit on the sides while climbing in or place weight on parts of the hull and a lightweight construction means impacts could easily damage the hull. The reason why do this is to keep weight down so they can use lightweight hull and components to maximize payload. Clearly this is fine as long as the hull is not damaged.
HDPE or Carbon Fiber / Kevlar hulls are ideal for general rugged use but in particular over ice and snow. Unlike snowmobiles and boats the Hov Pod Commercial Hovercraft is a true year round solution and is not affected by thinning ice, water pools, melting ice, broken ice or access to or from ice or water lakes.
We have sold many craft for use in Scandinavia, Canada and Central Europe, please see some of the You Tube links in our video area on the website. Some Hov Pods have in fact been purchased specifically for operation on ice lakes for access/survey & the Hov Pod is available with weather shield and front cabin.
As an example our demonstrator craft has been driven up and own our local debris infested river and tidal banks on average twice a week for 4 years. In that time we demonstrate the hulls durability by going over rubble, blocks, stones etc and after 4 years of this recently turned our hull over to replace the sacrificial skids we fit………….no hull damage had occurred despite regular knocks and bangs and a few heavy impacts with larger debris lying on the shore. After 4 years of use the owner is far more satisfied to have chosen Hov Pod as a material that withstands these knocks as opposed to an alternative hull material that is severely worn down, damaged or has shattered into pieces, sometimes in only 6 months.
Proprietary Skirt Design
The Hov Pod skirt material is the result of 16 years of research and development. Our proprietary skirt design is a unique polyurethane / nylon weave & fabric combination with anti-rip properties & incredible wear resistance. Hov Pod are engineered for full-time daily production and the Hov Pod skirt is designed to put in overtime. The unique anti-plough IAPSS skirt design gives far greater flexibility, continued operational ability & high speed safety against rapid and sudden deceleration. Other craft use inferior and thinner materials such as Neoprene Coated Nylon skirts - though lightweight and cheap these skirts degrade when exposed to UV and rip easily.
We double stich the underside rubbing contact area so 2 layers of fabric are used, again another Hov Pod unique feature to aid the customer and prolong operational life.
Polyurethane is commonly used on the sole of shoes since it is so hard wearing - many customers have yet to replace any sections after 4 years of wear.
The Hov Pod skirt shapes control handling, and assist our anti-plowing IAPSS system. "Plowing-in" is a known problem with other hovercraft - it can cause a hovercraft to stop violently when traveling at speed over water, throwing passengers and contents forward over the bow of the craft. Other hovercraft manufactures believe that plowing in is just one of those things that hovercraft do, we have worked very hard in the design of the Hov Pod to try our best to eliminate plowing-in.
A Difference in Capabilities
Most hovercraft suppliers for reasons of cost and weight reduction manufacture hulls from lightweight glass fiber or inflatable hulls and although OK for making boats, not many boats are expected to travel over ice or concrete slipway, or over grass. Glass fiber cracks and water can penetrate air channels to make hovercraft heavy and subject to water ingression.
The Hov Pod Hull is therefore far more suitable than thin glass fiber constructed hovercraft hulls that shatter on impact with ice. This characteristic is particularly comforting in cold climates as some glass fiber hovercraft in the past have sunk or let on board freezing water exposing occupants to the threat of hypothermia. In addition the underside of the Hov Pod has aluminium runners and shock plates front and rear, plus wear bolts on exposed corners to offer greater impact resistance in areas likely to suffer repeated and regular impacts. The edge of the bumper rail is a very thick molding offering great impact strength-for one customer while trailering the craft even withstood breakage when absorbing the load from a rear end car collision.
The other critical area to consider is the skirts. Thin skirts get ripped and are expensive to keep replacing, and dangerous if ripped by ice. The Hov Pod skirt material is a unique specially developed Polyurethane / Nylon weave & fabric combination with anti-rip properties & incredible wear resistance. It means you can operate in far greater safety & will not be forever changing or repairing skirts. Even when cut by sharp scissors it is almost impossible to extend the cut. 65 Individual skirt sections & the unique IAPSS skirt design gives far greater flexibility, continued operational ability & high speed safety. We illustrate the strength of this material by cutting a section by one inch and then inviting customers to try tear it another inch by pulling either side of the cut to win a bottle of champagne. Actually, we drank the champagne last month as no one had managed this yet after 2 years of trying!
Vigorous Testing of That Difference
We also recently had to conduct 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.
The difference between Hov Pod and Hovercraft is, Hov Pod are built to commercial specifications. Hov Pod are not just weekend toys, but equipment that you can count on all day everyday and in the most difficult conditions. Hov Pod are quiet, safe, durable, easy to operate, maintain, transport and own.