View Full Version : Which homebuild hovercraft for a 3rd world medical mission?

rickhartland - n/a
28-Jan-08, 12:10 AM
I am a British doctor working as a volunteer in the Philippines. I am working with a tribe called the Aetas who live in a mountainous area, near the Mt Pinatubo volcano that erupted in 1991. All roads to the villages were destroyed by the eruption and have never been rebuilt, and the only way to and from the villages is along a river bed that in the summer is mainly soft sand (and just passable by 4wd trucks but with much difficulty) and in the rainy season is a wide, but fast flowing river that only a powerful boat can get up.

On my last trip up there, whilst helping to dig out the 4x4, I had an idea that a hovercraft would probably be the best vehicle for the journey. Its all flat and either water or sand, with a few long grasses in places. There's flat land at either end of the river for docking. Apart from possibly a helicopter, I can't think of anything else that would be able to make the journey all year round.

So, this is where you come in! I have little knowledge about hovercraft, and as far as I can tell, no-one here has ever seen one. Our budget is small, so we would be looking at a home build, rather than buying a lovely factory built craft. We have talented carpenters, welders, mechanics and other craftsmen available either free or at very cheap rates (although I'm not sure how much experience they'll have had with fibre-glass)

There are several plans available on the internet - from free ones from the 1970's to really modern looking ones from Universal Hovercraft. Which would be the best for us? Does anyone have any experience with these craft in this kind of situation?

What we need would be something strong enough to be used on a regular basis (at least twice a week), able to carry about 4-6 people with some supplies as well. The cheaper we can build this craft the better - although I don't want to compromise the strength.

Any advice will be very welcome, we'd like to start this project in the next couple of months. Also if any experienced hovercraft builders would like to come and help we would be able to provide room and board (the Philippines is a beautiful country!)

Thanks in advance

Rick Hartland

hovmart - n/a
28-Jan-08, 02:56 AM
they were making osprey 5 craft out there already and there will be one there if you could find one that would do the job, may be kip will have some more info, if not ian or john will be along and try to sell a sevtec wich will do the job quite well

GavinParson - n/a
28-Jan-08, 05:59 AM
Hi Rick,

I have interests in the Philippines and have a house out there. I also have 30 years experience in hovercraft. I will PM you and discuss this further as I can help you with this.


jar2 - n/a
28-Jan-08, 12:34 PM
.... ian or john will be along and try to sell a sevtec wich will do the job quite well

Cheeky b*gger http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_lol.gif

Seeing as how you've mentioned it it may be worthwhile looking at the larger Sevs (you'd need something pretty big to carry 6 PLUS supplies (click HERE (members.aol.com/sevtec/sev/EXP.html)). The sev hull construction is very simple - flat foam cored panels with no internal support framework (some have been built using aluminium or ply with framing). With a larger craft you could fit a wide variety of engines (almost anything you can find locally). The only disadvantage I can see is that the sheer size may make it a bit of a handful on a tight river with overhanging vegetation.

UH also have some big craft but they have lower hover height so may not be best for this location.

rickhartland - n/a
29-Jan-08, 07:22 AM
Thanks for all the help, suggestions and pms. I shall be considering them all over the next few days and will reply again soon. For those who have asked for more details - the river in question is the Porac River, also sometimes called the Bucao River, just south of Botolan in Zambales. You can see it easily on Google Earth or Wikimapia (latitude 1517'2.59"N, longitude 120 4'40.85"E) The Aeta villages are approximately near the dot marked as Moraza. The grey colour is from the ash and sand washed down from the volcano - visible as a bright blue crater lake just to the east. The river is about 5 times shallower and wider than it was before the eruption. I live a few towns south of this area in Castillejos.

msk12 - n/a
7-Feb-08, 09:52 PM
check out the WEB Site for Hoverworks.


Kitset Hovercraft from New Zealand.

Design for the rivers in New Zealand.


Neil Medcalf - n/a
15-Feb-08, 04:53 PM
I would suggest you contact HoverAid at.. www.hoveraid.co.uk

They have the River Rover craft which may be a suitable craft for you to use. You might be able to build a licenced version. At the very least contact them, as they have lots of experience in what you intend to do! Good Luck.

Neil Medcalf

GavinParson - n/a
15-Feb-08, 08:07 PM
Richard is already aware of Hoveraid but they are too committed to other projects at the moment.

There are a group of us looking at the possible options for this project taking into consideration what is available locally and what is practicable for easy build and maintenance.