View Full Version : World Hovercraft Speed Record

19-Apr-09, 11:29 PM
Can someone confirm this wikipaedia fact is indeed true?

"World's Hovercraft Speed Record[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovercraft#cite_note-8) - September 18, 1995 - Speed Trials, Bob Windt (USA) 137.4 km/h (85.87 mph), 34.06 secs measured kilometre"

I wonder if/when it will be broken?
Does it have to be done at a sanctioned Hovercraft event, or could it be done using independent timekeepers?
(No I'm not considering the Bonneville salt flats!)

Bob Rennick
20-Apr-09, 12:19 AM
Funny you should mention the salt flats. I was involved in putting together the WHF regs for the speed record in preparation for the WHC in Terre Haute. At that time I went through significant effort to obtain a timing setup from . . . . . Bonneville! In fact, they shipped their set up to Terre Haute. However, the local organisers didn't put it to use!! During my negotiations for the equipment, I was offered an invitation to bring hovercraft to Bonneville to establish a new record.

To get back to your question, I had discussions with the Guiness people and they said they would acknowledge records when set under the guidance of a recognised body. This is what led to the writing of the speed regulations (with a lot of help from the Bonneville people!) for the WHF.


21-Apr-09, 03:28 PM
=I had discussions with the Guiness people and they said they would acknowledge records when set under the guidance of a recognised body. This is what led to the writing of the speed regulations (with a lot of help from the Bonneville people!) for the WHF.


What are the speed regulations?

Bob Rennick
21-Apr-09, 03:53 PM
They're on the WHF web site (www.world-hovercraft-federation.org) in the download section.


Jon Pert
21-Apr-09, 04:06 PM
What are the speed regulations?

Go as fast as possible. http://www.jonrb.com/emoticons/hehe.gif http://www.jonrb.com/emoticons/getmecoat.gif

22-Apr-09, 04:21 PM
Tall 4999 said:

"Can someone confirm this wikipaedia fact is indeed true?" - I thought you had to take Wikipedia information with a pinch of salt. ;)

There is a link at the bottom of the Wikipedia page to the HCGB site but it is no longer working!

Bob Rennick
22-Apr-09, 11:41 PM
I can confirm that Bob Windt's run in Portugal was the fastest speed ever recorded by an official organisation. In this case, the WHF. I was one of the timing officials during the test.

However, I also know that the very next day I was aboard with 4 others on that craft running down the river at very high speed to attend a luncheon. There was a road paralleling the river and several Brits raced along trying to keep up. One of them later informed me that we left them behind even though they were travelling at over 100 mph! Bob explained to me that this was highly probable given the extra ballast to keep us from blowing over. It was quite an exhilarating ride!


Bob Rennick
22-Apr-09, 11:43 PM
One other thing: I've heard that the SRN4's attained a higher speed during cross-channel operations but I've never had this confirmed (and it was never verified by an 'official' organisation). I've also read that an American experimental sidewall hovercraft, powered by water-jets exceeded 100-mph - also never confirmed.


29-Apr-09, 11:23 PM
They're on the WHF web site (www.world-hovercraft-federation.org (http://www.world-hovercraft-federation.org)) in the download section.


I think there may be a Typo in the regs, apparently the noise regs are 87db (85 for F25).
I doubt ANY racing Hovercraft capable of over 80mph could meet that..

Bob Rennick
30-Apr-09, 01:03 AM
You might be surprised. Whilst I don't recall the readings from Bob Windt's current record holder, it was extremely quiet. It used a V6 automotive engine complete with muffler and thrust was via a very large diameter, slow turning propeller.


15-May-09, 04:50 PM
Just for the facts, we have placed a GPS Data logger in the craft from Dan Turnbull in Sweden durin the WHC 2008 and we have measured a 118 km/h as the top speed on water.

On the short race track in Freiburg we had done this in 2008 with Miki Scanavino as well and we had a max. speed of 101 km/h.

Picture with the Data from see: http://www.hovercraftboote.de/09_images/miki2008_training_freiburg.jpg

Best regards

Bob Rennick
15-May-09, 07:18 PM
I especially like the red scriggley bits in the middle of the picture!


Keith Oakley
15-May-09, 09:36 PM
The long term plan is that you will get GPS traces like this live on the satellite pic thats on the left of the www.live.raceresults.info (http://www.live.raceresults.info) webpage but I haven't made any GPS equipped tags yet....

Bob Rennick
15-May-09, 10:15 PM
That'd be pretty cool, Keith. Hop to it!

Seriously, though. You're spoiling us with all your work and the 'best' is now expected!


16-May-09, 07:34 AM
I heard somewhere that there is a theoretical top speed for hovercraft :eek:, for some reason above this speed its no longer a hovercraft :confused:. Have I got this wrong :( Could someone please put me straight :D.

Bill Baker
17-Oct-14, 06:15 PM
Having recently been involved with a speed event I had reason to look at the WHF regulations as put together by Bob Rennick in 2002 and was disappointed that the wording was Formula based 6707which ment that a craft built to simlar size and weight to that used by American Bob Windt would not be sanctioned by the WHF in spite of the fact that he claimed that the WHF sanctioned Bobs results in Portugal.
I wrote to all members of the WHF in June suggesting that thay had an open formula above that of F1 craft in order to level out the playing field ,I am still waiting for a reply BUT in the mean time the WHF chairman has asked the technical representative to up date the guidelines which has been done by introducing the currant formula engine capacities and adding a weight restriction of 300 Kg

Bill Baker
14-Nov-14, 05:58 PM
Well the TV program has been aired and the feed back has been mixed .
I have written a report of our participation so if you are interested in what actually happened E-mail me at info@bbvhovercraft.co.uk Regards Rupert & Bill.

Alan Wilkins
14-Nov-14, 06:40 PM
I have read Bill's report and it details what was done and why, which the TV program didn't make clear.

From the current WHF regs from what I can now see the team involved in this record attempt hands were tied.

I have a lot of respect for Guy Martin and for Bill Baker but I felt the TV program made the hovercraft world look like a bunch of back street mechanics.

They showed Guy making a hash of the cones but still granted a licence to race. I know its racing and there will always be crashes etc, but again the program made it look like an episode of whacky races. Again the TV obviously edited it to look like that as it is probably better viewing than what actually happened.

Perhaps its only me, but every time the TV are involved with the hovercraft scene, they tend to portray them as a joke vehicle, which we all know is not the case.

For the most part I enjoyed the TV program , but was annoyed at how the program focused on the negatives so portraying hovercraft as they did. With other record attempts Guy has done, there has always been some research shown and what differences some simple modifications can make to a design. Again this episode nothing like that was shown, again IMHO making the hovercraft world looking like back street mechanics.

It was a good effort from everyone involved, even Les trying to do a rearward roll for the camera in the workshop :-)

Thank you Bill for writing the report and setting the record straight