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30 Jan. 2002

By Sunny Dunbar
Special to the Tribune-Star

More than nine months of planning and work by Terre Haute North Vigo High School students recently culminated in a "road trip" to the south side of town.

A demonstration of their working model hovercraft was given by the Patriots in front of Terre Haute South Vigo High School students, who are preparing to build their own version of the vehicle.

"It was a lot of work and time, almost 400 man-hours, but it was all worth it," said North junior Marcus Songer.

Technology teacher Mike Dason began the hovercraft project last March in his transportation class, obtaining blueprints and starting the search for materials.

Fort Harrison Auto Parts supplied the engine, North's auto body classes helped paint and work with the fiberglass, and the school DJ Club helped raise money for the project.

Dason's goals were for the students to learn to work as a group, to understand there is always room for improvement, to know they should always do their best and be willing to try something new.

"Working on the hovercraft has created many opportunities for future endeavors. It's a great project," said sophomore Ryan Ralston.

North students took the initial version of the hovercraft to a race in June and found that it was too heavy and needed an air duct top.

They returned to school in August, corrected the early mistakes and improved the original craft.

Dason is reworking the blueprints and creating a book that will aid in the building of additional hovercraft. He also will work with the Hovercraft Club of America to organize and promote a national race.

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