Yellowknifers: stand by for hovercraft rides in two weeks

Peter Basko's hovercraft in March 2015
Peter Basko's hovercraft in March 2015.
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The man who brought a 12-seater hovercraft to Yellowknife says it could be ready to take paying customers by the second week in July.

Retired mechanic Peter Basko’s orange Canair 512 hovercraft caused a stir at the Long John Jamboree, in March, when it made a brief – highly audible – appearance.

Basko spent months trying to get the machine ready to offer trips at the Jamboree, but mechanical issues proved insurmountable in the time available.

March 2015: Peter Basko’s hovercraft profiled in words and pictures

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Now, with three more months’ work under his belt, Basko hopes the hovercraft is nearing active service. Important new parts are due to arrive by the end of the week.

He plans to charge $50 for half-hour trips.

“The plan is: if you got green, I got gas,” he joked.

“I want to do small half-hour tours from Back Bay to the river bridge, along the shore to Dettah, across to Con Mine, and then back to Old Town. That’s your half hour.

“I hope, in two weeks’ time, it will be ready to operate – full service.”

The hovercraft measures 22 feet by 11 feet and was trucked up from its former home in Des Moines, Iowa, late last year. Basko says the machine has also spent time in Australia.

The Canair 512 has twin engines, which were considered vital in Basko’s search for the ideal machine. He argues that two engines give him the ability to limp home should one fail, reducing the chance of finding himself stranded in northern winter conditions.

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