20 May, 2011

Only seven Neova 4 hovercraft in the world ...

... Who will own this one?
This classic Neova 4, already registered and located in
Melbourne, Australia, is currently for sale.

Four decades ago, the founding of the world’s original light hovercraft manufacturer began in Australia, when Neoteric Engineering Affiliates Pty. Ltd., the parent company of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc., built their first hovercraft. This prototype was intended not for manufacture, but for the sale of hovercraft blueprints to homebuilders.

The brainstorm of engineers Chris Fitzgerald and Rob Wilson, and designer David Atkins, the Neova 1 created staggering world interest when it was introduced at a press demonstration in July 1974 on the Yarra River in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. All were anticipating a promising future for this curious new flying machine.

The Neova immediately gained major world interest
and was soon featured in numerous publications.  

Next, the company lengthened the one-person Neova 1 by two feet to create the Neova 2, a 2-passenger side-by-side seater using the same 46hp air-cooled, flat 4 engine. To expand the sale of plans, the craft was again lengthened to create the 4-passenger Neova 4, with a flat 4 liquid-cooled Subaru engine.
With the hope of selling their hovercraft plans to the burgeoning recreational market in the United States, the engineering team made what was intended to be a temporary move to the USA in 1975. Neoteric used the Neova 4 to evaluate several engineering and design concepts, including the marriage of two separate skirt systems – a segmented skirt on the outside, a jupe skirt on the inside – and to determine if the craft had any market potential for manufacture.

They discovered that there was a virgin market for the manufacture of hovercraft, but the Neova was better suited to home building than to manufacturing in a factory, so Neoteric refocused its efforts onto other models, such as today’s HoverTrek. Chris Fitzgerald remained in the USA as President of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc. and Rob Wilson returned to Australia to serve as President of the company’s Australian division, Neoteric Engineering Affiliates, Ptd. Ltd.

And the rest is history … well, except for this rare piece of hovercraft history whose owner is yet to be determined. This original Neova 4 hovercraft, personally built by Rob Wilson using top quality materials, is for sale. Already registered and located in Melbourne, this is one of only six or seven Neova 4 hovercraft in the world, and it is equipped with Neoteric’s patented reverse thrust system. With seating for four, it is powered by an 1800cc EA82 Subaru overhead cam engine, which produces 84hp at 5.500 rpm, and is ready for salt water operation. The craft has 39 hours “on cushion” hovering and needs only a new battery, a sump pan and some minor skirt repair. 

This handyman’s and hovercraft historian’s dream is only $10,000, and that includes a heavy duty, purpose built hover on/hover off trailer. For more information, email Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.