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A spot of hover bother ends with success

AS a member of the Yew Chung International School of Shanghai's hovercraft team, I had the honor of participating in one of the first hovercraft competitions among Shanghai's international schools.

As its name suggests, the competition was a demonstration of student ingenuity and resourcefulness; we were judged in four categories: Fastest Travel, Furthest Distance, Simplest Design and Most Innovative Design.

We began working on the project in early November. It was not merely a hovercraft; we became quite sentimental toward it as soon as it took its first breath (except for me, but we'll come to that in a moment). In designing the hovercraft's body, we used a particularly long bolt that proudly held the hovercraft together from the center, but was generously longer than needed. During its test flight, I had the good fortune to be the driver. Unfortunately, that meant sitting dead center on the hovercraft. It had not occurred to us to put something in between the bolt and myself, and needless to say, my pants were the first (and only) casualty in this whole project. That incident set off a chain of inside jokes, including the hovercraft's nickname Christopher, after the inventor of the hovercraft, Christopher Cockerell.

YCIS's DT (design technology) department has a great working atmosphere to it. Spending time working with everyone was very satisfying, as we developed teamwork skills and everything became fun. I can fondly recall the smell of acrylic and the sound of belt sanders every time I look at the hovercraft, which is now on display at the entrance of our DT lab. In addition, the hard work paid off as we won first place for Fastest Travel, Furthest Distance and Most Innovative Design as well as third place in Most Simple Design.

A special thing about the whole experience was piloting the hovercraft. I dressed up as The Stig, the mysterious driver from the BBC's Top Gear program. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a white helmet, so I used a black helmet instead. The idea came to us spontaneously and was the source of a lot humor for us.

Overall, this project was a rich experience. I learned a lot about working together in a team and having fun. With stories to draw from and lots of funny moments, this project was a success and hopefully not our last hovercraft competition.

(Article by Patrick, Year 10 student of YCIS Shanghai)


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