Officer William Taylor
Police Department builds a rescue hovercraft
from a Neoteric kit
When we first took delivery of our unassembled
Hovertrek I decided to have all the police striping
and markings applied before I started any assembly.
I took the new and empty hovercraft hull to a local
company that stripes and marks all of our patrol
vehicles. The employees of the company and I came
up with a design that would be unique to the hovercraft
but still match our patrol vehicles. The design
company printed all of the markings (made from vinyl)
and then started the challenging part, applying
them. By using heat guns they were able to form
the vinyl to the compound curves of the craft. We
could not have asked for a more professionally done
After all the markings were installed I transported
the hull and all of the parts to a small three-car
garage owned by the city. I unloaded the marked
hull then proceeded to unpack all of the parts,
setting them in groups; engine area components,
instrument components, seat area components, and
Once I had the parts in sections, and my tools
set out, the first job I decided to tackle was to
install our pre-selected emergency light bar. The
bar we selected, as many in its class, came with
mounts for a vehicle, so the trick was to make custom
mounts to fit the hovercraft. Using some flat 1”
wide aluminum, I fabricated two brackets (one for
each side of the light bar). This took some time,
as I had to make the brackets to accommodate the
curvy outer top cowling, and identical to each other.
Once the brackets were made the light bar bolted
right on and was complete other than the wiring
(to be done later).
The first items to be installed were the four lift
handles, and the two chrome inboard handles for
the passengers, these bolted in quick and easily.
Since the hovercraft engine was out, I found there
to be plenty of room in the duct, so I crawled in
to tighten these bolts down. Next I inserted the
aft thrust duct (held in place by un-popped rivets)
so I could line up and install the split plates.
This was very simple; the plates were riveted in
place and then “gooped”. At this time
I also installed the front “Nav” light
in the nose, and the antenna for the police radio
in the cowling. I created a ground plain by grounding
it to the light bar, which is in turn grounded into
the front grounding harness.
Next came the engine. I did not have the luxury
of an extra set of hands or a hoist, so I managed
first to set the engine in the hovercraft (slowly
and carefully) and then began the task of aligning
it. I finally installed it using the washers provided
as shims, however I was not fully satisfied with
my gaps. So I pulled it out and tried again. The
second round of aligning the engine module took
much longer than the first but the end result paid
off, as I was very satisfied with the new gap. The
module was in, and the thrust collar installed (I
have to say the thrust collar made installation
easy – compared to the old method I watched
in the video!). Once this was done I installed the
exhaust system (once again a simple installation)
and heat shield for the starboard reverse bucket.
Holes were drilled and I started placing engine
instruments in their places. Mounting the port-reversing
bucket came next, this job took some attention and
care, but I found it to be quite simple. The actuator
was installed at this time but not wired yet. I
assembled and installed the handlebars, steering
assembly, and thrust reversing controls in the seat
before its installation. Once these components were
fitted, mounting the seat was a very simple operation.
Next I installed the headlights and bilge pump.
I started wiring the hovercraft, installing the
wiring harness, and hooking up the engine instruments.
Fuel tanks and fuel lines were also installed at
I had to run an extra power line off the battery
to be dedicated to the police radio, which is a
digital 800 MHz trunking system. The radio was mounted
on the inside starboard side just under the instrument
panel with the siren stacked on top of the radio.
Being that the siren speaker we chose was fully
encapsulated it was mounted in the hull facing forward
out of sight, but in a manner that it would not
impede airflow. The reverse thruster actuators were
wired to the computers behind the split plate, and
the antenna was connected to the radio. Once all
the wires, fuel lines and engine controls were in
place, the engine/fan screen was installed. The
windshield was installed with the protective coating
left on until testing.
Once all the wires had been run through, and mounted
in the hull, the skirts were all installed. The
rear thrust duct was mounted in place and the rudders
installed. The hovercraft was checked over, all
the systems were tested, and the test runs began.
Aside from small adjustments the hovercraft has
not needed any changes.