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B.C. family celebrates father's achievement of building hovercraft 60 years ago


After months of planning, the Scott family reunited on Friday at the Vancouver Maritime Museum to celebrate one of their father's greatest achievements.

David Scott, their 86-year-old father, built the province's first hovercraft, and the vehicle is still intact more than half a century later.

It was initially part of his final year project at UBC, where he studied mechanical engineering, and it later turned into a passion project that took two years to complete.

"I haven't thought about this material for many, many years. So the last few days have been a reintroduction to hovercrafts for me. And I'm remembering lots of things that I thought I had forgotten," said Scott.

"It was built so early that the department of transport didn't know what to do with it or how to classify it. So they decided on aircraft," he added.

The process from planning to building was a challenge, but it finally took off in the summer of 1965, according to an old news article.

He shared some of those stories with his children and grandchildren on Friday.

"It's just great. I'm so pleased that they're finally able to see it," said David Scott.

"(It's) really cool to hear all the stories about it as well 'cause I knew he built one. I didn't know that he had to take off a whole wall of his house to get it out. It was pretty funny," said his grandson, Niko Scott.

The family said they were touched, and listened to the senior’s stories attentively and in admiration.

"It's so heartwarming, and I'm just so happy that all of this came together so well and to see dad in his element taking about this great achievement of his that really helped pave the way for hovercrafts here in Canada. I can't even express how it makes me feel," said his daughter, Anne Scott.

"These things get put away and forgotten about and he's just my dad and he has a cat, Scott’s other daughter Collen Alexander said with a laugh. “But to see him bringing this stuff that is so meaningful for him, it's great to see that side of a person that you don't always know about.”

With the vehicle in great condition, the Vancouver Maritime Museum hopes to display it in public in the near future.

"We have so many objects in storage that don't really get to see their time in the light so today is really special for all of us," said Mary Elizabeth Harrison, the museum's curator.

Finally having proven the principles of hovercraft engineering and spearheading a national study on it, David Scott switched careers to real estate, but said he looks back at his times as an engineer fondly. Top Stories

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