I got interested in hovercrafts quite by accident. My daughter had
some kind of promotion material for Star Wars Episode 1.
There was some prizes on the back, and the top prize was a hovercraft for kids that looked kind of like the land speeder from Star Wars.
I thought it was pretty cool, so I went to look for something similar on the internet.
The first thing I found was the Pegasus from R.Q. Riley,
and I ordered plans. It it was round like a saucer and had
The more I learned about hovercrafting, the more I found I might not be happy with this project; it has no bag skirt, just a skirt (possible because of the round shape), and it has no thrust provisions, other than shifting your weight, to let some thrust slip out under the skirt.
Then I found Universal
Hovercraft and came across the UH-6F, a trainer for kids.
This has all the stuff; a bag skirt, plow plane, lift and thrust, rudders, steering. I did however use the prop design of the 'Pegasus' because it was the most expedient, and I had the design on hand. It was just a two blade lift fan, fashioned from a single piece of 2" x 6". Since then, I bought the prop templates from Universal Hovercraft, and built the proper four blade lift fan.
I recommend the UH-6F as a great training project,
because everything you learn here in terms of construction and hovercraft principles can be applied to a bigger craft.
I learned a lot.
This is the only construction photo I have of the UH-6F. My kids
pretty intrigued with what Dad
was building. None of us had ever seen a hovercraft before.
The craft was assembled with a styrofoam deck, and a urethane foam
I used polyurethane glue (Probond) to glue the deck and motor mounts together, it expands similar to
spray can foam, and is apparently as strong as epoxy. I was then able to use regular fiberglass for the
urethane foam and the rest of the craft. I discovered the hard way that you can't use
fiberglass on styrofoam, it melts your hard work to mush!
I'm glad I started with a trainer like this craft, so my mistakes
were on a smaller scale.
The UH-6F has a 3.5 hp Tecumseh, and a 24-14 lift fan.
It works well with my son's 45 lbs, but is a bit under powered for bigger kids. (85-100 lbs.)
I built a new lift fan (24-16), and I am looking for a 5 hp engine,
that should improve things a lot. (see
UH-6F with a 5hp motor)
We had a lot fun at the lake, summer of 2000,
We just puttered around as the UH-6F could not get "over the hump".
i.e.. it doesn't have the power to get over the wave front and plane on the water.
Still, we had a great time.
I did have my daughter cut the motor on the water, to see if she would sink, she was fine.
However, she couldn't get back on cushion after stopping in the water.
Hey, it's a trainer!
As we would take off from the beach, I had this idea,
start higher up the beach!
I put my 12 year old nephew on the craft, and we would give him a real good push,
wow, because of the grade of the beach, he was flying by the time he hit the water.
Then I noticed what the sand was doing to my prop,...oops!
Future hovercraft pilot
It occurred to me that a lot of kids would want to try this,
so I bought hearing protectors from Home Depot.
I didn't want them all sharing the same foam ear plugs!
Also notice the rope I used to tether the younger kids.
A perfect summer day!
I have more pictures of this craft on a parking lot,
on pavement, this little craft really hums along.
UH-6F at the parking lot
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Last updated November 29, 2004