• Hovercraft Competition



    13th Annual Hovercraft Competition

    March 21, 2020

    Banneker High School

    6015 Feldwood Rd

    College Park, Ga. 30349

    Contact: Joseph Buffington



    Competition Trophies Categories with Explanations


    • 1st Place Speed and Performance
      This trophy was given to the hovercraft and driver that consistently won the majority of an event, which was navigating a figure 8 around 2 stationary cones.
    • 2nd Place Speed and Performance
      This trophy was given to the hovercraft and driver that consistently won the "2nd most victories" of an event, which was navigating a figure 8 around 2 stationary cones.
    • 3rd Place Speed and Performance
      This trophy was given to the hovercraft and driver that consistently won the "3rd most victories" of an event, which was navigating a figure 8 around 2 stationary cones.
    • 4th Place Speed and Performance
      This trophy was given to the hovercraft and driver that consistently won the "4th most victories" of an event, which was navigating a figure 8 around 2 stationary cones.
    • Best Overall Design
      This trophy was voted on by the coaches of all the participating teams. The coaches had to choose and rank three crafts from 1 to 3. Judges were looking for symmetry of design, craftsmanship, esthetics, functionality, use of materials, etc. The attending coach could not vote on their own craft. The results were tabulated and the winner chosen
    • Best Overall Qualifying Time
      This trophy was given to the fastest craft that navigated the course or the basketball court in the shortest time.
    • 2nd Best Qualifying Time
      This trophy was given to the 2nd fastest craft that navigated the course or the basketball court.
    • Most Technologically Innovative
      This is trophy is given to the craft that utilizes technology in a new, different , or unique ways. Crafts with remote controls, new electronic devices, battery powered, consolidated or compact crafts would fall into this category.



    Schedule of Events


    Time of Events * Competition day Events
    8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Team Registration
    Hovercraft Check-In
    Final Prep
    9:00 - 9:15 a.m. Team Introductions/Hovercraft showing
    Welcome To Hovercraft Competition
    Judge walk-through for best Design Competition
    9:15 - 9:30 a.m. Get Teams and Hover craft ready for competition
    9:30 - 10:00 a.m. Hovercraft Time Trials for Seeding Races
    10:00 - 11:45 a.m. Hovercraft Competition
    Double elimination
    11:45 - Noon Awards Ceremony/Photos
    Hot Dogs & Chips, Lunch!!

    * Time is Tentative: Sometime events start sooner depending on the Judges



    Competition FAQ


    Is the event only for Fulton County Schools?

    No,all schools are invited. The competition originated in Fulton County


    Is the competition only for high schools?

    No,  several middle schools have participated and won trophies.


    How much is registration?

    Registration is  $25.00


    Who do I make the check out to ?

    Make check payable to the hosting School Engineering Program


    Can we bring more than 1 craft?

    Yes, two crafts preschool is the limit ?


    Is there a weight limit?

    Yes, the driver must weigh at least 100 lbs


    Where can I find more information on the rules and regulations?

    Look under Rules of the competition in this document



    Judging Details

    Judging will be done only for 2 categories

    Best Design

    Most technologically Innovative

    Coaches of the teams will be given a survey sheet ranking each craft and the points will be tallied for the above categories



    Rules of the Competition


    Hovercraft Races:


    Race 1 - 25 meters straight course (approx. length of basketball court). The results of this race will determine seeding for race 2 and be awarded first, second and third place trophies for speed.


    Race 2 - Two crafts will race head-to-head maneuvering 50 meters in a figure 8 (mandatory), going around the first cone to a second cone, 180° around the second cone, back through first cone returning to starting line. Race 2 will consist of a double elimination competition to determine 1st through 4th place.


    Design Constraints


    1. Hovercraft must be built this year. (Previous year’s hovercrafts are not allowed)
    2. Maximum two hovercrafts per school in the competition
    3. Hovercraft driver must weigh at least 100 lbs. or craft must have added dead weight to compensate
    4. Hovercraft must be constructed with a maximum base size of 4’ x 6’
    5. Hovercrafts can be powered by electrical fans or leaf blowers. The crafts are limited to 4 devices maximum in any combination of fans and leaf blowers
    6. Hovercrafts must use one extension cord per two devices. If using three or more devices two extensions cords must be used. There is a maximum of two extension cords per craft.


    Hovercrafts can be:

    • Battery powered
    • iPad driven
    • Remote controlled
    • Standard 120 volt AC
    • Innovative


    Race Rules


    1. Hovercraft must move under its own power. If the hovercraft stops moving, while still having full power to the craft, the pilot must independently get craft going with no team assistance.
    2. Hands and feet must remain in or on hovercraft at all times during competition.
    3. Team members are not allowed to touch the hovercraft during competition in any manner.
    4. Team members handling power cord must remain at least 3 feet from craft with slack in the cord at all times during competition and cannot pull hovercraft with power cord.
    5. Team members are responsible for maintaining power to their hovercraft. If the power cord becomes unplugged, it is the fault of the team. Teams may position one team member at the electrical distribution panel to prevent a power cord from being pulled out.
    6. If a circuit breaker trips, both crafts will be stopped, the race will be restarted when total power is restored. Race will restart from same positions as when power went off.
    7. If the pilot touches the floor with hands or feet during competition, a 15 second penalty will be added for each violation. Hovercraft pilots must be able to maneuver their crafts without touching the floor with hands or using any pole, rod or device that touches the floor in any way to turn, stop or steer.
    8. If a cone is hit by a craft there will be a 10 second penalty added to the time for each violation. A penalty flag will be thrown when this violation occurs.
    9. If hovercraft runs into the wall, team members can turn the hovercraft in the proper direction, but not push it forward. Pilots and team members cannot move cones when maneuvering craft and must move around cones.
    10. Teams cannot switch drivers during competition but can switch drivers for different events.
    11. If after 2 minutes a team doesn't finish Race 1 they will be scratched from the race. A team that scratches will go to bottom of the seeding. If multiple teams scratch, the final seedings will be randomly selected from all scratched teams.
    12. In the races, if no one has crossed the finish line in 3 minutes, the craft closest to the finish line is declared the winner.
    13. All crafts must have a driver and driver must weight 100 lbs. or greater or there must be compensating dead weight added. No switching of motors between crafts. All crafts must have fixed propulsion systems.



    Rubric and Resources





    Hovercraft Competition  Videos










    Fulton County School System

    Atlanta Auto Auction

    Technical Training Aids

    Life Cycle Building Center



    Previous Years Competition Hosts Winners


    13th year - TBA in 2020

    12th year - Northview High School in 2019

    11th year - Tricities High School winner in 2018

    10th year - Northview High School winner in 2017

    9th year - Johns Creek High School winner in 2016

    8th year - Chattahoochee High School winner in 2015

    7th year - Johns Creek High School winner in 2014

    6th year - Chattahoochee High School winner in 2013

    5th year - Chattahoochee High School winner in 2012

    4th year - Centennial High School winner in 2011

    3rd year - Banneker High School winner in 2010

    2nd year - Westlake High School winner in 2009

    1st year - Chattahoochee High School winner in 2008


    2019 Hovercraft Competition Results


    1st Place Speed and Performance: North View High School

    2nd Place Speed Speed & Performance Best Overall: JohnsCreek High School

    3rd Place Speed & Performance: Banneker High School

    Most Technologically Innovative: Johns Creek High School

    Fastest Qualifying Time: Holcomb Bridge Middle School


    Hovercraft Competition History


    This competition dates back to 2007 when the students of Mr. Buffington (engineering instructor at Banneker High School ), built the first functional leaf blower hovercraft in his engineering class. He tossed around the idea of a hovercraft competition with now retired instructor, Mr. Belcher at Westlake High School. The idea was also mentioned to Mr. Mervich at Chattahoochee High School along with Dr. Steive Sweigart of Johns Creek High. This was the beginning of a yearly hovercraft competition that many students have participated in and continued their engineering studies in at least one several of the engineering disciplines surrounding the hovercraft. For the first three years of the competition, the event was held at Banneker High School. Mr. Buffington made a decision to start hosting the competition and different schools each year as interest and participation increased.