Retired aeronautical engineer Bob Windt of Cordova, Illinois is the inventor of Hovercraft, a build-it-yourself, remote-controlled water hovercraft. The founder of Universal Hovercraft is pitching his toy invention on The Toy Box on October 22. Bob “Rocket” Windt set the World’s Hovercraft Speed Record on September 18, 1995 in Portugal at 137.4 km / h or 85.87 mph. As the Guinness World Records site describes it: “Windt was driving a streamlined 5.8 m (19 ft) Universal UH19P hovercraft called Jenny II, with a 82 kW (110 hp) V6 car engine driving its two fans (one at the rear to provide propulsion, and one underneath to provide lift).” Windt comes to his record-breaking status because he needed someone to test what he was working on. Windt is a former aeronautical engineer at McDonnell Douglas, among the largest and most powerful aerospace operations in the world. He has been called the “godfather of the personal hovercraft” by The Learning Channel. You know those promises about getting jetpacks everybody heard when they were kids — Windt got tired and built hovercrafts instead.
In 2014, daredevil hovercraft driver Guy Martin received a lot of publicity for his attempt to break Windt’s extraordinary hovercraft feat, but Martin fell short. Some of the reasons why Martin’s attempt didn’t endear him to Hovercraft enthusiasts are covered in this article at Hovercraft.org. Windt’s record remains the gold standard for hovercraft speed travel. Check out the awesome vintage film below. Artsplash was the winner of The Toy Box Season 1. The Toy Box airs Sundays at 7pm on ABC.