The Flying Hovercraft is a wing in ground effect vehicle
(W.I.G.) which was designed and engineered by Rudy Heeman
of Nelson, New Zealand.
The outrageous contraption was completely custom made,
and built from the ground up by Randy over the course
of several years. Due to the unique design of the vehicle
he even had to make special tools in order to form some
of the more unusual components. According to Randy, If
it wasn't for the fact he was a mechanic by trade, and
had support from friends and family, the project would
have been impossible.
The Flying Hovercraft relies on a principle called 'ground
effect' in order to fly. Ground effect is a name given
to a phenomena which acts on all aircraft when traveling
close to the ground. For example an aircraft coming into
land experiences ground effect just before touching down.
Ground effect describes the cushion of air which is caught
between the underside of the wing and the ground when
at extremely low altitude. This causes an increase in
lift, therefore allowing the Flying Hovercraft to fly
in close proximity to the ground with relatively short
wings. The maximum altitude of the Flying Hovercraft is
around 3 metres (9 feet)
Powering the craft is a 1.8 litre Subaru engine which
allows for a 62 mph (100 km/h) + top speed and a range
of 140 miles (225 km). When in flight the Flying Hovercraft
can carry a maximum of two people totaling 160 kgs (350
lbs). But when in hovercraft mode the capacity increases
to three people.
Amazingly, despite its ability to fly the vehicle is classed
as a boat and no pilots license is required!