This craft has been sold and is now in the state of Maryland. Construction on the next craft 15T, or 15S, should start soon!
September 20, 2003. Lone Star Hover-in.
May 24, 2003. Lake Somerville Hover-in.
Mar 15, 2003. Houston Hover-in on Lake Somerville.
Jan 25, 2003. The first hover-in of the season. Dallas Hover-in on Lake Lewisville.
Dec 28, 2002. The last hover-in of the season. A Christmas Cruise on the Colorado River near Austin, Texas.
Nov 4, 2002. Added a video page to the menu. This hold the links to all of my hovercraft videos.
Nov 2, 2002. Here is the latest picture of the craft. I just got done adding the
flames and the name of the craft. It is now named Jetster after my daughter's/co-pilot's
Special thanks to Jerry Coffman of Coffcraft Graffix Worx for the great job on the graphics.
Nov 1, 2002. Howard Boyle is letting me show some of his video taken from the World Hovercraft Championship from September, 2002. Right now I have a video of Bob Windt's UH-18SP WIG. This mpeg file is 42 megabytes.
May 26th, 2002. Second time on the water. I was able to open the craft up and see what it could do. Into the wind, the craft hit 42 mph. The craft could probably hit 50+ without the windshield and the engine cowling. The lift engine quit once when we were going over 30 mph. This caused a plow-in. It was gentle and controllable. After limping to the nearest shore, I found out that the engine was out of gas. This wouldn't be so bad, except that we had just stopped to fill up the gas tanks. I filled up the thrust engine tank and never even thought about looking at the lift engine. DOH!
May 19th, 2002. The first water test. Nothing ever goes to plan. The hovercraft was loaded on the trailer and heading for the lake when the ABS light came on in the truck and the ABS unit was going nutso. Back to the house to find another truck. After the brief delay, we were hooked up to a new truck and on our way to the lake. The first boat ramp we passed had a full parking lot. So we kept going until we found a place to launch. Launching the craft went well. Fired up the lift engine and floated off of the trailer. Turned on the thrust engine and pointed the nose of the craft toward open water. That thrust engine can really push the craft. I don't recall ever feeling a hump. When you grab the thrust engine throttle the craft just moved out. You don't have to climb a bow wave. I ran the trust engine up to 6500 rpm. This is where the prop seemed to fully load the engine.
May 5th, 2002, was the first flight of my hovercraft. I would have pictures, but my digital camera decided to stop saving pictures to memory. :( I was able to run the thrust engine up to 5000 rpm with plenty of throttle left. All in all, it was a success. Now to finish the trailer and register the craft and I'll be ready for the water.
Here is my latest project. A Universal Hovercraft UH-12T4 hovercraft. The craft is 12' by 6' and capable of carrying 2 people at 40+ mph. The plans call for a 5 hp engine for the lift and a 10 to 20 hp engine for the thrust. I will be using a 6 hp lift engine and a 45 hp snowmobile engine for thrust. A 45 hp snowmobile engine was not my first choice, but the power to weight ratio of a 2 stroke engine is inviting. Because the 2 stroke operates at a different rpm range than a small 4 stroke engine, some changes will have to be made from the plans. The higher rpm range of the 2 stroke prohibits a direct drive of the thrust prop. The stock 42" prop rotated at 6000 rpm would have a tip speed over 1000 fps! That would not only be incredibly noisy, but dangerous. This means that the prop needs a reduction drive. A belt drive is simple, quiet, and efficient. With a 3:1 reduction, a 54" prop should have a maximum tip speed of 460 fps. This will be a very quiet prop. The 54" prop is more efficient than the 42". This means more thrust.
After talking with other hovercraft builders, I will be adding some reinforcment to the cockpit floor. The plans have an 1/8" skin for the cockpit floor. I will add some stringers to the underside of the floor and and additional 1/4" of plywood to the inside floor. This should give plenty of strength without adding too much weight.
Here is a link to the construction of my first craft and other hovercraft goodness.
Here are some pictures of finished UH-12T4 hovercrafts. Hopefully mine will look as nice. :)