Students get creative in Hover Cup competition

Meka Al Taqi-Brown, Staff Reporter

Students gathered in McAfee Gymnasium to ride their hovercrafts across the floor in Eastern’s first-ever Hover Cup Saturday.

Junior pre-engineering major Tom Sticha and sophomore pre-engineering major Paul Blackmore race their race their hovercrafts on Saturday in the McAfee Gym.
Liz Dowell
Junior pre-engineering major Tom Sticha and sophomore pre-engineering major Paul Blackmore race their race their hovercrafts on Saturday in the McAfee Gym.

When first walking into the gymnasium, students were making the finishing touches on the hovercrafts they created. Four teams were participating with only one winner.

Three different categories were judged. Not only were awards given out for the first and second place winners, but awards for best design and most creative hovercraft were also given out.

Team Flipper won $100 for first place in the Hover Cup after a series of races between the other three competitors. Team Hyperdrive Engage won a $50 gift certificate to the Penalty Box for placing in second.

Hyperdrive Engage swept in the other two categories.

For the category with the best design and most creativity, team Hyperdrive Engage won. They received a giant Jenga set and wine bottle holders.

Each team said they spent at least a week on and off working on their crafts to make them perfect.

Nick Nezamis, a junior engineering major, said the process of building his team’s craft consisted of a lot of trial and error.

“We started with looking at YouTube videos to get the general idea of how to build a hovercraft,” Nezamis said. “The basic idea is you want to have a basic air cushion, a power source with a type of air supply to supply the hovercraft with an air cushion.”

By having an air cushion, this will help the hovercraft to move smoothly across the ground.

All of the teams used leaf blowers to thrust them across the floor, but all of them had different setups on how they placed the blower on the hovercraft. The leaf blower was there to bring the hovercraft afloat and push it across the ground, leaving a floating affect to the eyes.

Team Hyperdrive Engage’s hovercraft was a rectangular shape, with a drawing of eyes and teeth on the side of it. This team’s hovercraft had a leaf blower with a blue bottom to help keep it afloat. It also had a special feature added, a cup holder.

The next team called themselves The Rocketeer; their hovercraft was titled The Shooting Star. It was a circular shape with a leaf blower at the top of it and duct tape. Plastic Styrofoam surrounded the outer part of the hovercraft for protection.

The third team called themselves and their hovercraft, Flipper. Their hovercraft was simple and had a different design on the bottom of their hovercraft with a picture of dolphins swimming. They also had a leaf blower on top of the hovercraft that locked on and off when needed.

The last team called themselves Sprocket. Their hovercraft was a rectangular shape with a leaf blower on top. Their team used duct tape to mask the leaf blower to the hovercraft.

The person who is riding the hovercraft itself is the person who is responsible for guiding the hovercraft across the floor.

Lindsey Johnson, a junior nursing major, said she did not know what to expect from the competition.

“I am excited to ride the hovercraft, but I am a little scared,” she said.

When watching the competition take place, the crowd had different reactions. Because this was the first Hover Cup competition, no one knew what to expect, let alone knew how to build one and how it would work.

Emma Riedesel, a junior psychology major, said she had never heard of this competition before, but it was very impressing to see all of the teams’ work.

All of the work and creativity that was put into the hovercrafts took time and patience. Many of the teams had discussed how they had done one model but the first one had problems. They soon created a new model that ended up being their last and final creation. The second model was the model that was entered in the competition and competed with.

Brittany Hirst, a sophomore psychology major, said the hovercrafts were interesting to watch, and she is excited to see where they go next year.

Stevie Momaly, a physics graduate student, was answering questions on whether another Hover Cup would be held next year.

“Everyone seems pretty happy; they had fun and are still having fun,” she said. “It looks like it will happen again next year.”

She was the one who originally came up with the idea of the Hover Cup. Along with Momaly, the president, vice president, and the secretary of the Society of Physics Students also created the event.


Meka Al Taqi-Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]