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Historical Videos from the archives

From Paul Esterle's collection - A look at some historic hovercraft from the 60's on.   
From Paul Esterle's collection - Photos from a cold winter rally on the Mississippi River in Cordova , Illinois (Bob Windt's place)  
This nice video was shot by a crew making a show about different cities in Ohio that share names with other (famous) cities worldwide.It aired on PBS channels in Ohio.
I can't remember exactly when it was recorded, but I'm guessing around 2003

This is the only known video of the UH-26S cruise from Cordova, IL to New Orleans and back. We traveled 2744 miles in three weeks. This video was shot in Quincy, IL. and included Bob Windt, Terry Chapman, and Dean Pollee. We picked up Mike Kiester in St. Louis. Note how close we came to hitting the wall behind the craft on our exit! Inches!


This is the earliest video of my hovercraft. This is the 2nd one I ever built. The first one (a UH-6) was not filmed or photographed.
It is a UH-11S powered by a Rockwell JLO 295 snowmobile engine. It weighed in at a whopping 620 lbs.! (was supposed to be 185 lbs.). Later revised down to about 350 lbs. We called it the 3/8 bolt because almost every bolt on it was 3/8. I still have the shroud from this craft in my shop. I was 15 when this video was shot.


I don't know who made this but it is pretty funny!
Footage is from the 1989 World Hovercrft Championships in Troy, Ohio.
Let's go, Let's go!

 From the early 1980's, this commercial was made using Neoteric Neova II's in southern California  
 UH-13S interview in 1978
This video was made shortly after I completed the UH-13S.
This craft was powered by a fan cooled 440cc Chapparal snowmobile engine. I remember that I purchased the engine from Windcraft M&M- makers of the Hurricane hovercraft in Toledo. It is the same engine that powered thier early machines.
This craft used the Universal Hovercraft auto-lift system that drove a driveshaft through the cockpit to a gerbox in the lift duct.
I recall that this craft worked pretty good!


Not many have seen this video until now. The commentator is Ross Sully of Canada.
It shows my crash in an F1 race in Troy, Ohio in 1990. I was trying to take a different line up the transition from the river when it caught air and cartwheeled. It doesn't look like a big deal, but replay it in slow motion and you'll see it differently.
When the nose hit, the handlebar grip came off and I was a rag doll into the lift engine. I tore off the gas tank with my face (and I was wearing a full face helmet too.)
The result: 70 stitches in my upper lip (clean cut up to my nose), 20 stitches in my tongue (split like a snake); knocked out my front tooth, and a hole in my leg.
At first I was dazed and was concerned about getting hit by the craft behind me, but blood went everywhere when I stood up and I thought " forget the hovercraft"!

 My personal favorite, but the poorest quality of them all.  Back in the 1980's there used to be a regional TV show called "PM Magazine". They did a story on Bob Windt and Universal Hovercraft. Also in the video is Ray Churchill and Nick Sandquist. I'm guessing it was from around 1986  
 Historical Hovercraft Video #9
Dean Pollee's last hovercraft race- Troy, Ohio 1987
He has been a cruiser ever since!
Also starring:
Don Bender
Ralph Germer
Chris Barczinski Sr.
Carmen Chapman

 After working 3rd shift the night before, we filmed this on the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio. My college roomate Steve Klein and I built this craft in 10 days over Spring Break in 1982 (Thanks Steve!)
This craft had 8hp for lift and 50hp for thrust. This craft worked great and won the 1983 U.S. National Championship. Unfortunately, the craft did not last long because it was stored outside and got dry rot.

I know, I know.....I need a haircut!!! LOL!!!
 Historical Hovercraft Video #11
The Badger GP was a craft of my own design based on my previous experience with UH style hovercraft. I built it in 1989 and used it most of the 1990's as a cruiser and racer. Here I was helping with a rescue. One guy drowned.
The media calls it a hydrofoil hovercraft!

Vintage Hovercraft Videos

 The first clip (0:00 - 0:25) is one of two experimental vehicles built by Princeton University in America during the early 1960s under a contract with the U.S Army.

The second clip (0:26 - 2:08) was produced in July 1959 by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. The original vehicle used in the film is now on display at Fort Eustis Transportation Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, VA. Its model name is the Curtiss-Wright Model 2500.

 1960s prototype of the Hover Scooter. Tweed jacket and tie are optional