Welcome to the home of the Midwest Hovercraft Club. We are a very small group of people interested in hovercraft. I build and operate my own hovercraft with my wife Anne being a willing passenger. My friend Pat is also building a UH13PT, and Dean had one but got ride of it when he moved to a new home. We are all members of the Nebraska Airboaters Association. We are just a bunch of people who enjoy these unique craft. if you are building or own a hovercraft, or just want to find out more about them and live in the Omaha, NE area please contact me.
Most hovercraft are home built. If you are handy with tools then you can build one from about $2500 - $12000 including new engines. If you have the engines then you are looking at around $1500-$4500 for the rest of the materials.
You may be able to find a ready built hovercraft occasionally, but most of them are probably in other states, such as MN, and you will have to go and collect them. Used craft sell for $3500 upwards and generally $6000-$18000 or more is typical.
You can buy manufactured models too if you have more cash to spend. You can pay from a few thousand for home built second hand to around $23000+ if you want the top end models!
Cruising hovercraft are the most common in the USA and are capable carrying one or more people depending on the design. You can also build racing craft although you wil have to travel across states to compete.
Hovercraft typically cruise at 20- 60mph depending on the design and engine power. Simple 4 cycle engines or lighweight car engines can be used.
They are perfect for use on water, now, ice, mud, and other reasonably flat suraces. They can run over rutted surfaces as long as the skirt maintains the seal to keep the lift air pressure high enough to make the craft hover.
I hover on the Platte River, NE because it has shallow water with plenty of sandbars to transition across.
Hovercraft are uniquely different to other water and land craft in that they can handle almost any surface proving it is reasonably flat. Thin ice and soft mud are doable, and they also use very little power to hover and cruise, which makes then slightly different to an airboat, although they are very similar in some ways.
There are very few hovercraft around in Nebraska, mainly because very few people have seen on or know about them. Most hovercraft are homebuilt from plans and so it takes a particular type of practicle person to attempt the build; which is actually not all that difficult. Modern hovercraft are often made of builder's foam insulation, fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin, or from plywood, fiberglass cloth and polyester resin. Polyester resin is cheaper, smelly and fast setting, and eats foam. Epoxy resin has little smell (but you stil need to wear a respirator to avoid alergic reaction over time), is more expensive, easy to work with and slow setting and will not attack the cheap insulation foam used for construction. Take one step at a time and it is not really difficult.
Look up Universal Hovercraft, or Sevtec Hovercraft and you'll find lots of info, plans, kits and completed craft. The nearest get-togethers, or Hover-Ins to Nebraska and Iowa happen at Muscoda, WI twice a year and you can expect to see10-30 hovercraft attending, and usually get a ride if you ask. It can also be a place to puchase a secondhand hovercraft. Also check the INternet for lots of build logs that will show you the steps in constructiing a hovercraft. It's all out there if you spend a little time surfing.
Thare are also Yahoo Groups - Hoverlovers, etc that you can join and ask questions, and find help and advice.
If you'd like more information about hovercrafting on the Platte River, NE , then please email me. Also if you see any problems with the website do please let me know.
If you have any questions, please contact me.
Here is a link to a short video showing us hovering on the Loop River in Nebraska, USA
Here is a video of a news report by Channel & News showing a Deer Rescue using my hovercraft, to pull three deer from the mud on Lake Zorinksy. The lake had been drained over the winter to kill off an invasion of Zebra mussels. The deer had walked on the thawing ice and fallen through into the deep mud
The club no longer exists as I'm now the only hovercraft operating in the area. Contact me if you'd like details for local hovercraft activity. I build my own and occasionally have one for sale.