A spaceship or a houseboat?

Look at the picture, maybe you will say that it's an alien spaceship if you saw it somewhere near your place. That silver creation that measures 56 feet long, 20 feet wide and 17 feet tall is suppose to be a hovercraft. Built by Dennis Schaller in the backyard of his house in Gifford. But now it’s going to end up as a houseboat.

"I won’t live long enough to get enough money to make it a hovercraft — not unless I went back to work full time; and then I wouldn’t have the time to work on it.” said Dennis. He started building rockets when he was a kid. He made a solid-fuel jet engine in high school shop class and, at age 15, took first place in the engineering division of the 1960 Georgia State Science Fair for a rocket he’d built.

He was a rocket engine mechanic in the Air Force before becoming an electrical engineer with North American Aviation, where he worked on several Apollo missions, including the Apollo 11 craft that landed on the moon, and the early Space Shuttle program. He’s lived in Gifford since 1989.

The 65-year-old Schaller said that this is a 20 year project, still not finish well until now. At the center of the craft is a travel trailer Schaller found in the woods in Fellsmere and bought for $100. The vessel, for lack of a better word, is a mixture of the practical and the fanciful. The front door, for example, opens hydraulically like the alien spacecraft from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

“Not being a rich man, I’ve had to build a lot of it out of junk,” he said, noting the lifeboat is made from a former acid dipping vat from the Piper Aircraft plant in Vero Beach and an old satellite dish.

Schaller said he’d like to float the boat in Lake Okeechobee. “I’ve got two more years to go if I keep working steady every day,” Schaller said. “Of course, I’ve been saying ‘two more years’ for about 10 years now.”

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Via : Sun Sentinel , 2 Sept 2009



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