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  :: about discoverhover :: program history ::

Hovercraft projects in education began informally in 1964, when several student groups entered the world's first hovercraft race in Canberra, Australia on 14 March 1964. Four years later, the first organized youth hovercraft program was launched in Great Britain.

::: BP Challenge to Youth

In 1968, the Hoverclub of Great Britain launched its Junior Hovercraft Program, sponsored by British Petroleum (BP) as a part of its Challenge to Youth corporate initiative, a "design-and-build" program with the goal of inspiring youth to excel in transportation and petroleum-related fields. The Junior Hovercraft Program thrived for 26 years.

By the late 1980s, more than 3,000 students and hundreds of schools and Scout troops had participated in the Junior Hovercraft Program. The students participating in this cooperative learning group project came away with not only hands-on technical and construction skills; they also learned to work in a team environment, to meet deadlines, and to document their work. This documentation was often submitted as a part of college admissions applications. Additionally, the students were afforded the opportunity to travel to other parts of the country, where they became involved with other students and adults and learned to work cooperatively with them.

Schools and instructors were highly supportive of the Junior Hovercraft Program because they found it well-organized and administered, they had access to financial support, and they received technical assistance from members of the Hoverclub of Great Britain. Most importantly, the Program allowed them to offer their students an innovative project-based educational opportunity that fostered enthusiastic involvement in the learning process.

British Petroleum estimated that the Junior Hovercraft Program received $175,000US (₤100,000) per year in public exposure through news articles, television coverage and demonstrations at trade exhibitions. The Hoverclub of Great Britain also reported a significant boost to its profile, which led to a substantial increase in membership. Many students who first gained experience in the program have now become leading pilots on the world hovercraft racing circuit.

::: DiscoverHover

In 1993, the Hoverclub of America, Inc. implemented a pilot program for entry-level hovercraft in the United States, initiated by members who now serve on the Advisory Board of DiscoverHover. The two-state pilot program began with 14 schools and hundreds of students, and during the last decade has been extremely well-received by numerous additional schools throughout the US, Canada and Australia. This important program has been adopted by the World Hovercraft Organization as DiscoverHover so that it will receive a greater level of funding and promotion.

The DiscoverHover Build-a-Hovercraft School Project expands upon the two previous programs, bringing today's students, as well as teachers together into one central, internationalized school hovercraft program. DiscoverHover is designed and administered by many of the same people who pioneered the earlier programs, and its free hovercraft plans are an updated version of the same entry-level hovercraft design that has proven to be successful over the years.

The mission of DiscoverHover is to offer an even more comprehensive educational experience, expanded funding and greater opportunities to students involved in the Program, including the opportunity to compete with racing champions in local, national and international hovercraft races.

All Material © 2003-2004 World Hovercraft Organization