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
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.