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  :: info for instructors :: insurance and safetey ::

Liability and safety issues are certainly of concern when a school undertakes the construction of what is essentially a "flying machine." The hovercraft, in contrast to other vehicles of any kind, has a long-standing record of being extraordinarily safe. Hovercraft racing, unlike automobile and motorcycle racing, is an extremely low-risk sport in terms of serious injuries or damage.

The unique characteristics of the hovercraft contribute to the safe nature of the sport. One of these important characteristics is the hovercraft's low "footprint pressure." The pressure a hovercraft exerts on its operating surface is conservatively 1/30th that of the human foot. The average human being standing on ground exerts a pressure of approximately 3lbs per square inch, rising to 25lbs per square inch when walking. The average hovercraft by comparison exerts a pressure of only 0.33lb per square inch on the surface regardless of speed. This "footprint" pressure is less than that of a seagull standing on one leg!

With such negligible impact, hovercraft have literally flown over a pedestrian without inflicting harm.

::: Indemnity History

During the last decade, more than thirty schools have participated in the Hoverclub of America's Discoverhover 1 Hovercraft program. Since the program's inception there have been no insurance claims and no injuries. For 26 years, students and instructors from hundreds of schools participated in British Petroleum's Hovercraft Challenge to Youth, during which there were no insurance issues or claims filed, according to Sue Pesch, Manager, Community Affairs, British Petroleum Oil Ltd., England peschsj@bp.com.

Throughout the history of hovercraft racing, full indemnity insurance with reputable international underwriters has always been available to the organizers. This fact, in addition to the moderate premium involved, attests to the trouble-free record and low assessed risk of hovercraft events. Hovercraft racing enjoys a 40-year claim-free insurance history.

::: Established Hovercraft Safety Code

In all hovercraft events, it is conditional for all participating hovercraft, including those built by students, to adhere to World Regulations for Competition Hovercraft. By following the DiscoverHover free hovercraft plans, students will build a hovercraft designed to conform to these regulations.

All hovercraft, including DiscoverHover student hovercraft, must be checked by the Safety Officer of an authorized Hoverclub prior to its acceptance into any hovercraft race. During hovercraft races, the event Safety Officer again checks each hovercraft prior to its participation. Both the Safety Officials and the Race Officials closely monitor the performance of each hovercraft and pilot throughout all racing events.

This emphasis on assuring conformance to a rigorous safety code, regulating both the construction/condition of the hovercraft and the operational performance of the pilots, has created an unusually safe sport for both participants and spectators.

All Material © 2003-2004 World Hovercraft Organization