Engineering @ One learners and teachers were treated to a visit by hovercraft racers, David Atkins and Phil Tattersall, who brought 3 crafts to inspire and encourage participation in this exciting and fast-growing sport.
David introduced the technology with enthusiasm and learners were captivated with the explanations of how many different facets of Engineering are involved in even the most basic craft, but also amused with the fact that you have to learn how to stitch and make skirts - to prevent the air from escaping below the craft! These crafts are just over 100kgs, so Phil was able to lift the front of one while learners could get a closer look under the skirts! Learners could also see the internals of one of the engines, and the control mechanisms of the crafts. The feedback from David was very positive – “We enjoyed showing the learners at Suffolk One some of what goes into racing and the fabrication, maintenance and customisations of our craft.”
Phil, David and Nils are involved in the building, maintenance, racing and the inevitable repairs of their craft for races which involve mixed terrain including unforgiving grass, mud and water. David’s son, Nils who is an Engineering student at One as well as an avid hovercraft racer, has said “My love of hovercraft racing is what lead me to choose this L3 BTEC Engineering course. The skills and experience I will gain, will hopefully take my hovercraft racing even further as well.”
Phil provided lots of information for the learners “If young people wish to get involved with Hovercraft racing they should check out the www.hovercraft.org.uk website, as it is the only recognised organisation for hovercraft racing. The site publishes a calendar of events including races that you can just turn up to and watch; the big ones are on the May Day and August Bank Holidays and it gives details about joining which is only around £25 a year.”
Abdul Malik Samba, one of the Engineering teachers, was quick to note that so many of the principles that are taught on the BTEC Level 3 Engineering course can be demonstrated in the various stages of planning, designing, fabricating, repairs, modifications, testing and operating of the hovercraft.