With a Hiss and a Roar
Nelson hovercraft inventor Rudy Heeman is auctioning his unconventional vehicle on TradeMe for a reserve price of $20,000. Heeman’s machine is a hovercraft in the conventional sense, but with the addition of detachable wings, the vehicle cruises at 56mph when flying, has a range of more than 140 miles, and reaches a height of about 10 feet. The sale has already received more than 100,000 hits and has shot well past the reserve price. Heeman, who has been building hovercrafts as a hobby in his back yard for more than 13 years, said this is his first flying model. He says on his website: “It has been called all sorts of things, including aircraft, aeroplane, hovercraft and flying boat. It is in fact a WIG [a wing in ground effect] in the form of a hovercraft. This machine is fast and furious; it roars like a lion and is not for the faint-hearted. It is adrenalin-pumping and exciting. Having a go on it is like a bungee jump, however, the thrill lasts as long as the ride.” He said he was selling the craft because he needs the funds to get started on more “secret projects”.