Make Hovercraft – People have been fascinated with hovercraft since their introduction in the 1950’s, and many technically minded have attempted to build hovercraft from hovercraft kits or hovercraft plans found on the Internet.
Today it is possible to buy ready made leisure or commercial hovercraft that have been professionally designed and manufactured – making your own hovercraft can be hugely disappointing and result in hovercraft that are difficult to fly and dangerous to operate. Although hovercraft accidents are very rare, occasionally we hear reports of enthusiasts who have lost fingers from unguarded fan blades; there was even a fatality in New Zealand due to an un-guarded fan on a home made hovercraft.
Hovercraft design considerations:
Race hovercraft have to be extremely light – hovercraft are weight sensitive, so quite ofter, hulls are made of extremely thin glass fibre which lacks durability. Hov Pods are manufactured from HDPE and Carbon Fibre/Kevlar Composites. Leisure hovercraft tend to go slower, but reach speeds of up to 40 mph – the hovercraft design needs to balance performance versus durability – more durable hovercraft obviously last longer
Safety – many hovercraft designs lack front and rear fan cage guards, to allow designers to fit cheap underpowered engines – fan guards slow air throughput. Some suppliers up-rate engines to make them operate at maximum revs – doing so will invalidate warranty from the engine manufacturer.
Hump – some hovercraft lack power to overcome the pressure wave known as the Hump, that affects all hovercraft. Hovercraft usually lift 50% more weight when starting on land, so if you are going to start from an on-water start, be sure to check on-water payload capability for the model or design you choose.
Ploughing – some hovercraft nose dive into the water at speed, throwing driver, passengers, contents forward, over the handlebars. Some hovercraft are designed not to do this, other suppliers are resigned to saying you need to just get used to this problem.