A new kit hovercraft is now available
Son Projects, LLC.
Hovercrafts have been around since the 1950s, but
kit builders have been plagued with three major problems
that have kept hovercrafts mostly out of sight for
the past half century. Father Son Projects (FSP) has
tackled these problems and is now selling their easy-to-build
kit at www.fsplimited.com.
Father Son Projects
(FSP) has tackled these problems and is now
selling their easy-to-build kit at www.fsplimited.com.
Click image to enlarge
Hovercrafts are famous for being virtually
friction free. They accomplish this feat by riding
on a pressurized cushion of air that lifts the craft
just off the ground. It's like a giant air hockey
puck that you can ride on! To contain this pressurized
air cushion and release it evenly, a hovercraft uses
a rubbery skirt that wraps around the craft. Traditionally,
kit hovercrafts had a skirt that acted like a single
tube which was inflated by the craft's lift engine
or air blower. This kind of skirt was difficult to
install; requiring hundreds of special screws to attach
it, plus mixing of chemicals to glue it on. If the
skirt was damaged, it had to be completely removed
and redone. This wasn't just difficult, it was expensive.
This design would also deflate if the lift engine
died, reducing the hovercraft's buoyancy on water.
Some hovercrafts would even sink in this situation!
famous for being virtually friction free. They
accomplish this feat by riding on a pressurized
cushion of air that lifts the craft just off the
FSP's hovercraft uses a "dual
tube" design that is not only incredibly easy
to install (just glue it on), but also easy to repair
and replace. If a tube gets a hole you just pull it
off and replace it. The tubes are always inflated
as well, making the hovercraft more suitable for fishing
or as a swimming platform (although it is pretty tipsy
and much slower on water).
This design has also been found to be
extremely durable. The skirt was undamaged after testing
the hovercraft on pavement at speeds over 30MPH. It
truly is friction free.
The tubes are
always inflated, making the hovercraft more
suitable for fishing or as a swimming platform
The other major hurdle FSP has overcome
is reducing the complexity of building a duct for
the propeller that drives the craft. Ducts keep the
air from slipping off of the propeller tips as it
spins, which causes a loss of thrust. However, ducts
become detrimental at high speeds and actually produce
more drag than thrust. That is why airplanes don't
have them. So instead of having their customers form
a perfectly round duct that is within 1/8th inch of
a propeller spinning at over 3000 RPM, FSP designed
their easy-to-build propeller guard. It keeps the
spinning propeller out of reach, and adding a 389cc
engine devoted solely to thrust provides the operator
with plenty of acceleration (and adrenaline).
Traditional hovercraft kits required
their builders to finish and balance their own propeller.
This was generally considered to be the most difficult
task in building the kit and discouraged many people
from ever trying.
|A 389cc engine devoted
solely to thrust provides the operator with plenty
of acceleration (and adrenaline).
Purchasing a finished propeller was
either not an option or cost extra money. Builders
were left to settle with a nonprofessional prop and
a frustrating experience. But FSP has partnered with
a professional propeller manufacturer that has been
making props since 1961. The beautiful 38" hardwood
prop is laminated with a Class 1 waterproof resin
and coated with a polyurethane coating designed to
withstand the harsh environments of aviation. Just
receiving this beautiful propeller in the mail is
While FSP has made some large jumps
in kit hovercraft technology, one of their best achievements
is their focus on education and family fun. The kit
is designed to be an exciting, relationship-building
experience for fathers and sons, not a frustrating
task that will likely not get finished for many years.
FSP has also put together a free science guide with
the hovercraft to facilitate an understanding of the
principals behind the craft. It explores the workings
of the 4-stroke engine, Bernoulli's Principal, Newton's
third law of motion, and aerodynamic stability. It
is FSP's hope that their kit will find its way into
high school science classes and home school curriculums.
So if you're looking to make a memory,
draw a crowd, or do some 360's, check out FSP's hovercraft
Plans can be purchased for only $10, or you can purchase
the "Major Component's Bundle" for $1300
which includes a 13HP thrust engine, a 5HP impeller
based air blower, a 38" professionally built
propeller, and the plans. If you're not interested
in making your own parts these too can be purchased
PS. They're also working on a jet propulsion kit….
Jet in developement
Combustion Chanber: 23"