New Zealand’s home-made ‘hoverwing’ flies 5 feet above water
Look! Down on the lake … is it a boat, a plane … it’s neither. It’s the “hoverwing”, a hovercraft that flies. New Zealand mechanic Rudy Heeman spent more than 11 years of his spare time (and tens of thousands of dollars) building the hoverwing, a wing-in-ground-effect vehicle that flies on a cushion of pressurized air created between the wing and the water’s surface. Hoverwing can reach an optimum height is 1.5m (4-5ft) above the water and has a current top speed of 98kmh (61mph).
Heeman told the The Nelson Mail that the “hoverwing”, which is almost complete, has drawn local residents from their houses and cars to watch test flights over the Haven in the town of Nelson, at the northern tip of New Zealand’s south island.
Heeman is no stranger to hovercraft – he’s built and sold them for some time. But the hoverwing is his most ambitious project. So ambitious that an early test flight resulted in a crash landing. But it wasn’t enough to deter him from completing the project.
The hoverwing is powered by a modified Subaru car engine while the body comprises most fibreglass.
Heeman says he’s not planning on selling his machine, but had learned so much from the building process that he was keen to build another model.