February 1, 2007

   It’s been a REALLY long time since I updated the web site. Might have gone overboard this time. Obviously the whole thing has been redone. I have attempted to make it a little more difficult to copy things off of the website... I’ve had a few cases of my videos showing up on “video” sites without my permission. Unfortunately on some of the sites by posting you actually “give” them all “rights” to the video you uploaded.... in other words- they own it and can use it for whatever they want- NOT COOL!

   I’ll attempt to update more often- famous last words!!!

February 12, 2004

   Added The Viper repair article.

January 22, 2004

   Added the "How to Crash A Viper" article to the website. More to come.... Next up is the repair of a crashed Viper which will include all the mods that I have done since the original build.....

December 19, 2003

   Added a new Video to the "Dixon Video" page. I got a little carried away, and it's over 5 minutes long with pretty decent quality- In other words even you guys with DSL and Cable Modems may have to wait a bit for it to load.... Trust me... it's worth the wait!

    Dial up people? Well... I'm on dialup too, and it took me over 2 hours to upload the new video to my web server.... I'd suggest starting the download and forgetting about it for a while and doing something else. I'm biased, but I think it's still worth it!

December 6, 2003

   Finally updating the web page.... slowly...

    Lots of "Viper" modifications... some intentional, and some not- all will eventually be documented! The Viper is finally trimmed out properly and has cruised up to 52 mph during a 20 minute sustained "cruise" above 45 mph. There was a LOT of throttle remaining, but not enough room on the river to safely run any faster.....   

    I have a couple of new videos in the works too- both will be web videos and will be available in the "Video" section of this website. The first will be a fast paced "Highlights" video using non Formula One footage from the 2002 WHC races- hopefully it will be complete before Christmas. Video two will be strictly "Viper" footage. It's tied together with testing of some new "wireless" video equipment that I'm working on. This video will be shot entirely at the hidden, Top Secret, One Mile Long - "Speedjunky Test Track"-- Somewhere in Missouri..... I don't expect this video to be complete until sometime in the spring.

September 15, 2003

   Managed to repair the "Viper" and finish my modifications in time to attend the Hovercraft Races in Terre Haute, Indiana. A few of us cruised 60 miles on the Wabash River on Friday, and all is VERY well on the Viper "front".

    Finally received my DVD Samples ( both PAL and NTSC) from the company that I have producing them..... most excellent! They are now officially for sale!.... Info on the DVD Page!

September 3, 2003

   A lot has happened in the last month or so.

    I managed to put a large hole through the side of the Viper... not just the outside... the log that I managed to hit came all the way through the plenum and into the cockpit! The story will up in a few weeks including repair details and pictures. The weather here in Missouri has been unbelievable. We had 2 weeks of temperatures over 100F  and a high temperature of 107F- not exactly the kind of weather to attempt repairs. I had to wait until this week for the weather to cool off a bit so that  I could mix epoxy and have any useable "working time".

    The good news is that the air conditioner in our 100 year old farmhouse works GREAT! I hibernated in the house during the hot weather. While hibernating I completed the "2002 Formula One World Hovercraft Championship" DVD that I have been working on.  A LOT more work than I ever anticipated, but I'm happy with the results.... It will be up for sale in the very near future in both NTSC and PAL formats- check the "Formula One DVD" info page for ordering information.

July 13, 2003

    Live from Lathrop, Missouri....

    The moving experience is over and life has returned to a normal pace.. at least normal enough to actually do things for pleasure instead of "having" to do things out of desperation. 60 acres of property is a LOT more work than we ever expected, but it's well worth it. I call it my "60 acre diet plan" because there is always work to be done somewhere!

    So? Is Missouri actually "Hovercraft Nirvana"? It just may be that I fell into an untapped gold mine of hoverable waterways. Not only do I have a 10 acre lake in my "backyard" with wide open pastures surrounding it, but I have some darn nice rivers with concrete launch ramps within a 20 minute drive... Time will tell, and I'll do my best to document what I find!

    The best part of finally being "settled" is that I actually have time to work on a few video ideas. All my  video gear is up and running and I have started editing together a DVD of the Formula One Races from the World Hovercraft Championship which was held last summer in Terre Haute, Indiana. I have all 6 races, a lot of practice footage, high resolution still pictures, and a real treat of some "on board" footage from British team member Jonathon Spedding's craft during one of the rainy practice sessions ( thanks again Jonathon!) .

    This is going to be cool stuff that even non-racing hovercraft enthusiasts are going to enjoy! When's it going to be done?..... No guarantees on dates, and I'm not going to rush it. Fall 2003 is all I can say for now... BUT... To whet your appetites I  produced a 30 second "teaser" video- it's in the"Video" section...

Catch you Later... I have 20 acres to "Bush Hog"

March 20, 2003

    After five months of "induced moving terror" my wife and I are almost back to normal ( that, of course, is assuming we were ever normal in the first place!). We are finally to the point of taking possession of our "new" home, and doing our final move.

    The weather here in Missouri is great compared to Chicago! We have had a couple of weeks between house closings so on March 16th  we took a 50 mile cruise on the Missouri River with fellow Missourians- Andy Pittman, Donna Wood, and Donna's two daughters. Andy owns a  Neoteric "Hovertrek" and a Weber "Starcruiser". The Starcruiser was the vehicle of choice for this trip. Four attempts and an hour and a half later I had my cold weather (it was 10 the last time I flew!) jetting sorted back to warm weather settings. We had a great time in the nearly 80 weather and stopped for lunch at a small town a few miles west of Kansas City. We had a really great time!

February 13, 2003

    It's been a long time since updates... lets see.... where to begin...

    The Viper is alive and well. Between commuting from Chicago and Kansas City I took some time off from packing the Chicago house to do some winter flying. Gary Jensen and his "Slider" Hovercraft accompanied me to a nearby mostly frozen river. It was 10 F with a 16 mph wind from the North with a couple of inches of fresh powder. Despite the weather we both had a good time and spent almost 4 hours out in the elements. Both crafts behaved beautifully out in the snow and ice. That's the last time the Viper will be flying around Chicago for a while.

    I finally managed to sell the Chicago house- on my Birthday of all things! Happy Birthday to me I guess! I'm going to miss my workshop, but I've already found a way to get over it.... We bought a new place in Missouri. I think once you see the "New House" pictures in the "Articles" section you'll be able to figure out the advantages of the new place! ;)

November 21, 2002

    What a pain..... as you can tell by now the website has been moved to my own domain. The "free" site that came with my ISP just wasn't cutting it. I reached the breaking point when they shut off the site due to excess bandwidth.... Hehehehehe... I guess somebody actually DOES read this stuff!! Thanks to all I really do appreciate it.

    Ah yes... the horrors of moving... My wife now resides in Kansas City, Missouri.... I don't- at least not yet... there's a story in there somewhere, and I now seem to have a ludicrous amount of web space and bandwidth to play with... maybe I'll write it up.... not for the faint of heart...

    The Viper is still alive and well, but Chicago seems to be heading into winter mode.. too cold to risk getting wet, not cold enough for the lakes and rivers to freeze. I need to concentrate on packing and selling my house anyway. It's not all that easy being away from someone you have been with everyday for 30 years..... I guess "Dixon's Law" is never ending ;(

October 6, 2002

An even longer time since the last update! The Viper Page is up to date...

The Honda motor is no longer among the living..

The new Rotax 583 is alive, well, and making life interesting... read about it in the Viper section.

Looks like life has thrown us another bizarre twist, and we'll be moving out of state soon... I mean SOON! Not sure when or even if there will be another update in the near future... Time will tell I guess.

June 5, 2002

A long time since the last update!

The Viper has FLOWN!! The first test flight was filmed and is on "Video" Page.

The Viper  has been finished to the point of actually being able to fly for almost 8  weeks- nagging engine problems and bad parts suppliers have put a  crimp in any "real" progress- read about it in the "Viper" section.

April 10, 2002

Viper motor and fan assembly tested!

Motor Test Video is on the "Video" Page

April 9, 2002

Work on the Viper continues. 

Added page 12 to the Viper section.

March 29, 2002

Work on the Viper continues. 

 Finger skirts are completely done... 68 for the craft plus 25 spares for a total of 93 skirts! 

 Engine frame and drive assembly are completed and trial fitted to the craft..... Paint.... I need PAINT!!

March 8, 2002

Added 2 more pages to the Viper section! 

The Finger Skirts are all cut, added info on a few changes that I have made from the plans.

March 3, 2002

   The Hull is DONE!! 

Pictures and story in the Viper Section!

February 19, 2002

    Another Update! 

    First off I modified the Viper Page into smaller pages so that they could load faster for the people who use dial up ISPs- I've been  spoiled having DSL, and I sometimes forget about the load times. I also added a menu on the bottom of each page so that people can go to a page direct instead of having to go thru all the pages to reach the end.

    Next... The Hull is finally glued together!! Now it's one big solid clunk of hovercraft!! 

    COOL!  More pictures in the Viper section!

February 15, 2002

   If I was Noah... Noah of Biblical fame- NOT from ER... There would be no animals... They would have all drowned! 

I worked a bit on the Web Page!!

    There IS light at the end of the tunnel on the Viper project. I had a few distractions which involved a whole lot more work than what I planned on doing. First was running 75' of gas line from my house to the garage... Propane was a dismal idea...  A phone line and intercom were added at the same time- more in the "Viper section of this website. Second was helping my eldest son move from the suburbs to Downtown Chicago... Ugh...... The good news is that the upper deck panels should be finally glued to the hull by the end of this weekend! Work on the craft will focus on the engine and drive train at that point. Final painting of the craft will not be done until the mechanical parts are working. I'd hate to have to change anything once the final paining is done!

January 18, 2002

    Now that I have extra time on my hands (thanks AT&T!) I'm working on the Craft again! About time I guess. Of course now it's the middle of winter here and keeping the workshop warm enough is always a challenge. The end of last winter I insulated the entire garage and used 2- 1600 Watt electric space heaters. The space heaters didn't really keep things warm enough to glass so I supplemented them with a propane fired "torpedo" heater.... Ugh... Noisy inconsistent heat is not what I was after. The electric bill was the deciding factor to do something else. I solved my heat problem with a small propane fired unit heater like you would find in a warehouse. Forced air heat with a real honest to goodness...... THERMOSTAT!! It sips electricity at less than 3 amps while it's running, and almost nothing when its not. 

    I added a "Scat" page for people with an interest in them.. There's a lot of bogus Scats on the market lately and I put some photos of the ABS bottom-- How it SHOULD be... It just amazes me what some people try to pass off on others. Hopefully these pictures will help a prospective buyer.

    I dumped the Jeep page... Sticking with a "Hovercraft Only" page. Besides... Videos are memory hogs and "Hovercraft Rock" is staying here!

    Added more Pictures to the Viper page including pictures of the unit heater. With a little more foam and glass work I'll be getting pretty darn close to closing it up for the final time! I've also been getting the motor assembly sorted.. No pictures yet, but soon!

November 5, 2001

   Time off from building for the last few weeks... went on vacation!! First stop was the Appalachian Jeep Jamboree which was held at the Upper Telico ORV Area near Murphy, North Carolina. It rained most of the time so my camera gear stayed locked up for most of it, but there are a few pictures and a short video under the "Jeep Jamboree" section... The rest of the time was spent in Florida... If it wasn't for bad news on the "work front" half way through the vacation it would have been fun. I guess in retrospect that my wife and I should never have worked for the same company.... Ugly situation...... What can I say? AT&T isn't the company that it used to be....

    I also added  my Hovercraft Rock Video from Muscoda, Wisconsin... worth the download times... Trust me!

September 10, 2001

   Still plugging along on the Viper.. maybe another 7 - 10 days to complete the hull- Finishing and engine setup?? Who knows! New Pics under the "Viper Project" section. 

August 5, 2001

      Well?? Work continues on the Viper... Not as fast as it should be perhaps, but continuing just the same.  I've been doing a little "entertaining" for the last couple of weeks ( out of town guest from Germany!), and... well..... I'm afraid I just need to go out fly fishing a couple of times a week or I go NUTS!!!  Anyway- I painted out the air plenum area with 2 coats of epoxy, and now I'm fitting the top decks into place. I'm finally starting to run out of parts!! Pictures of  the current  state of progress in the Viper link!!

July 24, 2001

   Solved my "little" trailer problem from July 10th below.... pictures in the "Viper" section.....

July 19, 2001

   Finally managed to shake off most of my cold... after 4+ weeks!!... Building is back on track. I completed the planing hulls, forward compartment and flotation compartments so far this week... and it's only Thursday!! More pictures in the Viper Link!

July 10, 2001

   Geez... 2 updates in 3 days?? Hehehehehe.. Go figure!

    Anyway.. I have been in contact with Michael Nell and asked him for permission to use a couple of pages of his plans on my site. He consented  with the exception of a very highly detailed assembly drawing which Michael feels should only be accessed by Viper Plans owners. Buy the plans if you want to see more!!

    Well?? Mike Lynch is now the proud owner of  not only my Scat 12HP, but the Scat "Fly on, Fly off" trailer!..... OOPS!! I thought the Viper might fit on it..... Yeah ... right! The Viper is almost a foot too long, and about 6 inches too wide. Luckily one of the local trailer dealers does custom trailers for reasonable (well.... almost anyway..) prices, He claims the lead time to be about 3 weeks. All I have to do is figure out exactly what I want!!

July 8, 2001

   I'm finally updating this page!!! Took long enough to get to it! My new "Viper" hovercraft  project has been taking up most of my free time, and yes!- I finally have a link with some pictures and story. I was trying to have the new craft done by the Hoverclub of America's Troy, Ohio National Hoverin which occurred on the weekend of June 17, 2001, but (believe it or not!!) there IS life beyond building and I didn't get it done in time! In eager anticipation of actually having my Viper craft done I made the executive decision to sell the Scat 12HP. I do a lot of cruising with Mike Lynch, and Mike is now the new owner of my ex- Scat! I sold it to him a few days before the Troy, Ohio event, and Mike attended the event with his "new" craft. Work on the Viper has been pretty much hit or miss over the last 3 weeks.... The "Cold from HELL" has taken me over... I spent a week home from work , and had a relapse last week- so work has been pretty slow. I'll be hitting it hard again this week, and now I'm shooting for the Muscoda Hoverin near the end of August.... Maybe.... I'm not cutting any corners so if it's not done.. it's not done!