Monday, September 5, 2016

U.S. National Hover Rally 2016

Saturday Sept. 3, 2016
I have never attended a hover rally of any kind, mostly because of distance and timing. This year's National Rally, hosted by Hoverclub of America, was in Muscatine IA. which is only 2.5 hours away from our home, my schedule was clear, so we decided to make the trip.

Never having been to a rally, I was not sure what to expect, my wife had just had surgery two weeks ago, which prevented her from flying with me, not knowing the facility and whether my wife would be comfortable if I was out hovering, I decided not to take my hover, but to attend as a spectator. A decision I regretted the moment we arrived. The Muscatine Riverside Park, was a very nice facility with various accommodations. The park runs along the waterfront of the downtown area so it is not remote like some places hovercrafters frequent, and the ladies in attendance were all very nice and welcomed us as friends. Hover people seem to be like that.

I met up with my friend Bill Zang from UH, had a very nice talk with him about the Renegade Hovercraft, and he introduced me to several of our fellow hovercrafters, which ranged from first time craft builders, to old pros. What a variety of people, we had young, old, novice, pro racers, and male and female pilots. Also as always, Bill's uncle, the legendary Bob Windt was there having a great time flying. If you ever get a chance to be around Bob and Bill just sit back and listen, you will walk away filled with knowledge about hovercraft and hovercrafting. Bob is an interesting guy even without the hovers. A few months ago Bob was up in the Rockford IL area at an event with Bill, I met Bob for the first time, officially. Whenever you see Bob he will typically have young people with him. On that particular day there were about four young teenagers with him. I watched as he instructed these young people, in lessons about hovers, engines, wildlife, and just life in general, it was like they were on a field trip with an old outdoorsman guide. What an amazing guy.

One of the pilots Jason Kuehn, from Hoverstream, offered plenty of information about his hovers, which are sold retail in the US. Jason was also kind enough to take me on a short hover ride, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Hoverstream Coastal Pro 2, is a well built quiet flying machine, accommodating up to three people. 
The CP2 is a very sleek machine. The ride was smooth and steady. Many thanks to Jason.

There were several home-built hovers on hand as well. While we did not stay for the evening banquet our three hours on site were a complete success. I would highly recommend attending this event in the future, and the next time I'm taking my hover no matter what.