Make Hovercraft – Hovercraft come in all shapes and sizes, but you will probably start out wanting to build a small one, so first decide how you wish to use the Hovercraft, for leisure or for racing.
Race or Leisure Hovercraft?
Race hovercraft need to win races, to do this they need to reach speeds of up to 75 mph. Hovercraft are very weight sensitive, so if you make them too lightweight, they become more prone to accident damage – if you want to use the hovercraft for leisure, then you will need to build hovercraft that are more durable, and durability usually incurs weight. Leisure hovercraft usually achieve top speeds of up to 40 mph, but last far longer.
One engine or two?
Some smaller hovercraft have two engines, with the lift engine position in the nose, and thrust engine at rear. Designing a hovercraft with one engine to split the air makes more sense since as mentioned, hovercraft are weight sensitive, two engines weigh more than one, require two sets of controls so make operation trickier. Having a lift engine in the front of the hovercraft can make the nose heavier and the hovercraft prone to ploughing – some hovercraft nose dive and stop rather suddenly. If waves enter the lift fan, they can stop the lift – if you still have another engine providing thrust, the hovercraft will plough in and stop suddenly, so you and your passengers may fly over the handlebars.
Power to weight
Don’t imagine you can use any engine, or diesel – as mentioned before, hovercraft are weight sensitive, and you need a high-power to low-weight engine, hence why some manufacturers supply with microlight aviation engines. 4 stroke engines are usually heavier than 2-stroke, so need more power to compensate that weight – on the Hov Pod we fit the 120HP Turbo Weber 4-stroke engine.
As mentioned, some hovercraft plough into the water, some don’t have enough power to get started on water – all hovercraft create a pressure wave when starting on water, so drill down to specifications to calculate what the on-water payload will be for your hovercraft design. Some suppliers just mention on-land payload, generally hovercraft can carry 50% more weight when starting on land, so don’t get fooled if going over water, it may be a long swim home. Check hovercraft plans for safety features, make sure the hovercraft has a front and rear fan guard, to keep little fingers away from those spinning blades – especially if you want your kids to learn to play piano or guitar.