Hovercraft have long held a fascination for Don Fry. In the early 1960’s he designed and built his own 6 metre x 2.5 metre hovercraft from 3mm lightweight marine plywood. It was powered by a 250 HP radial piston, air cooled petrol engine driving a central backward curved radial lift fan and propulsion system. The craft incorporated a high pressure air curtain rather than the conventional rubber skirt.
NQEA built six AP1-88 hovercraft (100 passenger) under the terms of a licensing agreement negotiated with British Hovercraft Corporation. Two of the units have since been retro-fitted as passenger/cargo carriers and one has a magnetic head docking boom installed which enables passenger access to Chevron oil rigs off the coast of Angola. The conversion and docking boom were designed by Don Fry.