Monday, March 21, 2011

Up the dam

When I first started flying hovercrafts I knew nothing about their ability to hover over objects and not be affected by the surface of the object like a conventional boat would be. I fly on the Rock River in Illinois a lot since I’m from the area and the river is only a few miles from my home. There are certain obstacles you would not attempt to go over with a 16 to 20 foot hover that you could go over with at 10-foot hover and a low head dam is one of those obstacles.  I had heard about a dam at Rockton IL and I thought I would visit the location to see if I could get around it or what the chances were of flying up the dam. The river is split at that point and some of the water is diverted to a hydroelectric plant so the water level is reduced. During the week when no one was around I flew up there and checked it out. As I surveyed the water flow and the face of the dam I decided that I might be able to fly up it, I also determined that if I tried and failed it was low enough only about 7 foot high, that I could abort and allow the hover to turn and come back down. Let me state right here I am basically a chicken when it comes to danger and I avoid it as much as possible. So what I am about to tell you any one attempting this should check out and think through the stunt before you enter into an embarrassing situation. There are low head dams I would not attempt this on but this particular dam is probably one of the safest if you can call it that. I flew back and forth in front of the area I was planning to fly up several times and then backed away twice, at about ten feet from the base I made my approach and gunned the hover up and onto the face of the dam a few feet not completely up it. Once I had done that I knew I could make it over the face of the dam so I let the hover slide back and did a 180 away from it. With confidence I now approached it and gunned the hover one more time and easily shot up over the face of the dam. That opened up about another 6 miles of river for me to fly. Because of the hovers ability to fly over water land snow ice and even low head dams it opens up a lot of areas to us hover pilots. We can start out where everyone else has to stop. In my area alone powerboats have two different locations to take their boats and the stretch of river allows them only about 10 to 15 miles to cover. I figure with my hover in my immediate area I have over 200 miles of river to explore. And with this little adventure it grew by 6 miles. Have you ever gone over a dam? I am one of only a few people who can boast to having done it in reverse. You have to get a hover it’s a blast. 

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