Hovercrafting in Chicago


One of my favorite toys when I was growing up was a matchbox model of the SRN6 hovercraft. Somehow or other, I discovered that the model was a pretty close replica of the real thing - a vehicle the size of a bus that floated inches over land or water on a cushion of air. In 1978, when I was 10, I saw hovercraft in person for the first time when I watched the US Army Corps of Engineers use a large hovercraft to clear away ice on the Kankakee River, south of Chicago. I never lost my fascination with hovercrafts, although I didn't see another air cushion vehicle until a few years ago, when I searched the web and found out about the Hoverclub of America. I soon visited Weber Hovercrafts and not only saw one, but got a chance to try driving one for myself. These days, I've started a model hovercraft business, I get to see plenty of hovercrafts at Hoverclub events, and I zip around in my own Weber StarCruiser with other Chicago-area hovercrafters.

Photos and Stories:
Kankakee River, 1978
Terry's amazing jump (on purpose), Matt's even more amazing jump (by accident), and a photo of Verdon Weber's sandbar jump.
My mother learns to drive a hovercraft
The 1998 Winter Hover-in, Cordova, IL (wing in Ground Effect photos). See the Weber Hovercraft site for photos of the 1999 Winter Hover-in!

I'm always on the lookout for hovercraft books. Most books on the subject were printed in the late 60s and early 70s as hovercraft sales increased around the world. I recently discovered a terrific book in print and on sale right now titled "From River To Sea". The book covers the history and development of a majority of large hovercrafts such as, you guessed it, the SRN6. Here's a review and here are some pictures from the book.

When I first searched for hovercraft info on the web, there were about four hovercraft sites. There is now a ton of hovercraft info available on the web. See my extensive (but now rather out of date!) list of Hovercraft Web Pages.

Want to find out more about hovercrafts? Want to ask questions? Want to get in contact with hovercrafters all over the world? Want a ride? Want to get one of your own? Wherever in the world you live, the best way to start is by joining a hovercraft club!