Hoverbouts — alternatively spelt as hovabouts and also known as transolar discs, anti-gravitational discs, anti-grav discs or space maneouvre cradles — were small circular flying platforms with a railing around the edge, used by Daleks for operation within a planetary atmosphere, in close planetary orbit and within close to medium range of a Dalek spacecraft.
On Skaro, several styles of hoverbout were used to patrol the planet and the monitor events close to spacecraft. (COMIC: Legacy of Yesteryear) The hoverbouts were born out of the early casings being incapable of flight and the Daleks needing to efficiently traverse rough terrain. (PROSE: The Astounding Untold History of the Greatest Enemies of the Universe)
In 2400, in an anticipation of the invasion of Earth's solar system, a Dalek instructor manned a hoverbout as they presented an image of the solar system's planets and moons, shown according to their importance to the Daleks, to a Dalek audience. (COMIC: Dalek Planetarium)
Shortly after, many Daleks on hoverbouts took off from the space stations on Skaro, including the Red Commander's Kangring Squadron. The invading Daleks first struck the moons of Jupiter, wiping out the primitive races there before proceeding to exterminate the monsters of Saturn's moons. After wiping out a human colony on Mars within three hours, the Dalek advance halted for some weeks.
The Daleks then moved to invade Venus. They were briefly seen passing Earth by Paddy who was working on an observation satellite but they activated an electron shield which masked their presence. Paddy took the hoverbouts to be flying saucers, which were regarded as a 20th century myth and so he was sent on sick leave back to Earth. On Venus, New Paris was unprepared for the Dalek attack and after the savage onslaught it was reduced to ruins with the survivors rounded up and made into slaves. After this, two Daleks were sent on hoverbouts to investigate the Churchill Mountains where Jeff, Andy and Mary Stone were on a working holiday. They destroyed their cabin and captured Jeff and Mary. (COMIC: Invasion of the Daleks)
The Daleks used hoverbouts to escape the destruction of a Voord spaceship, follow an escape capsule containing the First Doctor and the Chief Voord to a South American jungle, and battle Earth fighters. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Daleks)
During the Second Great Dalek Occupation, Daleks aboard transolar discs were used to patrol around Dalek-held planets and in groups to attack spacecraft. (AUDIO: The Human Factor) The Dead Hand was escorted by a squad of Daleks aboard transolar discs during the Dalek attack on Kedru 7. All but two were destroyed by Salus Kade‘s Maniac Squad who hijacked the Dead Hand. The two survivors flew into Kedru 7’s atmosphere and caused a power build-up in their discs, triggering an explosion which ignited the atmosphere and killed everything on the planet. (AUDIO: The Fearless: Part 1, The Fearless: Part 2) Transolar discs were also used by the Daleks to attack the enemy human forces attempting to breach the Dalek-held facility Project Infinity on Lopra Minor. (AUDIO: Project Infinity)
In an alternate timeline, President Nigel Rochester owned a functioning transolar disc, which he used to take the Sixth Doctor on an aerial tour of London. The vehicle was later destroyed by Rochester, who claimed that it was "bugged" with a listening device. (AUDIO: Jubilee)
When the Restoration Empire invaded Islos, the Silver Daleks used hoverbouts to quickly move about the capital city. The Dalek Executioner used one while in space to monitor the troop deployment. (WC: The Archive of Islos)
Transolar discs were used during the Last Great Time War. (PROSE: A Prologue) They were used to pursue the War Master on Arcking. (AUDIO: The Good Master) Hoverbouts were used to travel beneath the crust of Gallifrey during the First Segment of the War. (PROSE: The Stranger)
Behind the scenes
Hoverbouts have never appeared in mainline televised Doctor Who: by the time the special effects budget allowed for Daleks to fly, it was decided to let the Daleks' very casings hover, without need for an additional, bulky contraption. This was seen first in Remembrance of the Daleks, and then from Dalek onwards in the post-2005 revived series.
A live-action hoverbout was seen in Susan and the Daleks, one of the minisodes created for 30 Years in the TARDIS. However, the version of the minisode seen in the televised cut of 30 Years in the TARDIS does not include the hoverbout's appearance; it can only be seen in the longer cut included in the direct-to-VHS expanded edition of the special, More than 30 Years in the TARDIS. As such, it can truthfully be said, though by a hair, that the hoverbouts never appeared on television. Hoverbouts are also seen in the final shot of the home video minisode Emperor of the Daleks, although they are static and not in flight, and are visibly part of a matte painting in the wide shot rather than physical props.
- The Dalek Task Force (one of the non-narrative features from The Dalek World) showed another type of personal Dalek aircraft, the Task Leader's Solus Combat, reserved for the titular Dalek Task Force's Dalek Task Leader.
- Hoverbouts feature in the comic story Daleks Versus the Martians, a prequel to the film Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D..
- The Into the Dalek set includes Black Dalek with black hoverbout, though no such Dalek appears in the episode.
- The Doctor Who Time Zone Playset Dalek Invasion 2075AD includes a bronze Dalek with a Hoverbout. Bronze Daleks aboard transolar discs are likewise featured on both the animated YouTube trailer for Big Finish Productions' The War Doctor audio anthology, Only the Monstrous, and the cover art for The Thousand Worlds, The Heart of the Battle and The Shadow Cage.