If you're old enough to remember 'Gentle Ben'

then you'll know all about Airboats!

Gentle Ben was a TV program produced in the late sixties starring Dennis Weaver as the "go get em" lawman who raced around the

Everglades of Florida chasing bad guys along with his

young boy Mark and his friendly Brown Bear 'Ben'...

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...and if you're a Kiwi you'll probably know that our very own Bill Hamilton introduced the jet boat to the world back in the mid 1950s... but a less well know fact is that before he perfected the water jet, he dabbled with an airboat. His first and only attempt in the summer of 1952 was a hybrid boat with an aeroplane propeller connected by belt to an engine and also a traditional marine prop which was retractable.

Needless to say his concept, the first Kiwi Airboat, wasn't terribly efficient in the early days and the idea was sidelined pretty early!