Marine

New Zealand's home-made 'hoverwing' flies 5 feet above water

New Zealand's home-made 'hover...
The "Hoverwing" home-made hovercraft-type vehicle on a test flight with a rescue vehicle in close proximity in New Zealand's south island (Photo: Marion van Dijk/Nelson)
The "Hoverwing" home-made hovercraft-type vehicle on a test flight with a rescue vehicle in close proximity in New Zealand's south island (Photo: Marion van Dijk/Nelson)
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The "Hoverwing" home-made hovercraft-type vehicle on a test flight with a rescue vehicle in close proximity in New Zealand's south island (Photo: Marion van Dijk/Nelson)
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The "Hoverwing" home-made hovercraft-type vehicle on a test flight with a rescue vehicle in close proximity in New Zealand's south island (Photo: Marion van Dijk/Nelson)
The "Hoverwing" home-made hovercraft-type vehicle on a test flight with a rescue vehicle in close proximity in New Zealand's south island (Photo: Marion van Dijk/Nelson)
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The "Hoverwing" home-made hovercraft-type vehicle on a test flight with a rescue vehicle in close proximity in New Zealand's south island (Photo: Marion van Dijk/Nelson)
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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.

Via The Nelson Mail

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21 comments
Denis Klanac
This looks like a ripoff of universal hovercraft design which is also called the hoverwing that i saw more than 5 years ago. Click on the link to see the original hoverwing
http://www.gizmag.com/go/3335/
Mike Hallett
DK is right, it\'s not an original idea, but all credit to the guy for building one himself. The history of \"In-ground-effect-wing\" craft or Ekranoplans is long and colourful, the Soviets having taken it to extremes in the interests of cold-war advantage. Google \"Caspian sea monster\", for example.
Larry
BRAVO to Rudy Heeman! It\'s nice to see a very public revelation not ALL aircraft innovation is rooted in the USA and dependent upon the multi-billion $ military \'welfare\' system.
As I recall - it was another New Zealander who first developed the high-speed jet-boat used in the white-water tourist trade.
Kinda reminds me of the Soviet \'Caspian Sea Monster\', \'ekranoplan\' - a \'ground-effect\' flying-boat/plane designed for various missions such as to resupply submarines far out to sea, launch missiles and serve as a rescue vessel (much like the American military \'Catalina PBY\'. Unlike the PBY, however, the Sea Monster\'s maximum altitude (like Mr Heeman\'s craft) is limited by the surface area of its wings.
See -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect_vehicle - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PBY_Catalina -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_boat
Druid
Denis where have you been?
Ekranoplan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSYmSnpQ360
Questor Thews
he didn\'t \"steal\' it from Universal Hovercraft. Just as they didn\'t \"steal\" it from the Soviet Union who didn\'t \"steal\" it from someone else !!!
Questor Thews
universal hovercraft is NOT the original WIGE vehicle
mike_
Really Denis, hardly \"stealing ideas\", the guy just built it for the fun and challenge as far as I can see. A little touch of envy from someone without any talent perhaps? And as for us \"sheep shaggers\", I believe for a small country, a number of great inventions have sprung forth from here. Where are you from by the way - you choose not to say. Perhaps a little embarassed about your heritage - or lack of it?
martin_blanchard
Hi,
Just a couple of points:
1. The Nelson Mail article you\'re quoting was \"Last updated 00:00 20/10/2007\"(!) so \"Christmas last year\" would have been 2006. The vehicle was completed some time ago..
2. This vehicle is currently for sale on \"Trademe\" (NZ\'s answer to Ebay): http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=274622678 as a result of this it has also recently appeared on the TV news here. Videos are now on Youtube too. See links in the comments of the auction.
Cheers.

Fadzlan Yahya
That\'s right Denis, that\'s a ripoff. Just like Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, Ferrari, Subaru, Fiat, Chrysler, GM, Renault and many others ripoff Ford\'s invention.
Ford must be mad in his grave.
Heck, why stop there. Boeing should be ashamed to the Wright Brothers.
Denis Klanac
Fadzlan Yahya Ford did not invent the motor car, in 1885, Karl Benz designed and built a car powered by gasoline. This car was made in Germany. This was the first ever car to be granted a patent in 1886.
Looks like i hit a raw nerve there aye Mike Shagga? i\'m Aussie and proud!
and yes i have seen the Ekranoplan on fox apart from ground effect the similarities end there.