Making Hovercrafts The First Steps

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I really believe that floating on a cushion of air is the funniest thing I could ever do! But what about easiness? It just seemed too complicated to construct your own hovercraft! In fact, the idea itself may not look thinkable for a lot of people, and that what I was thinking of too. But as the change is a vital feature of me, I simply changed my mind. That's because my son ‘ Henry’ asked me to do this together for the science fair which was held in his school last summer.

I couldn't tell him that this is a very complicated project, as I always felt that he has the sense of an inventor, so I did not want to make him disappointed by my refusal of his ideas. So, we started work, by collecting needed information about how to build a hovercraft.

Firstly, we found that we should be aware of a number of essential design and construction principles, and needed materials. We defined the physical principle we will work on, which is: The basic principle of an air cushion is that if you lift an object off the ground using air you reduce the force needed to move the object, and because the object is no longer in contact with the ground the friction this causes (surface friction) is reduced, making it easier to move the object. That was the theory, and it came to implantation. There are four basic parts you should prepare to construct a hovercraft. Let me name them with a little description for you: the first part is the hull, below which is attached the skirt system, the second is the carriage or cabin part which will hold the passenger(s), crew or freight, the third on is a propulsion system that would move the craft, and the last part is the lift system which will be responsible for feeding air into the plenum chamber below the craft in order to create the air cushion. We preferred to use a single engine system for providing both the plenum chamber and propulsion.

The difficulty we faced in using one engine is to provide optimal efficiency for both systems, but it was an interesting challenge. As a result of having no design or engineering background, we chosen to construct our hovercraft from a plan, rather than do the design ourselves, beside that design a hovercraft is a very time-consuming process. After finishing construction, we tested our hovercraft to be working properly, and to be safe for the passenger, Captain Henry, as he preferred to be called. I can tell you that the result was really amazing and surprising. I never imagined that it would be such wonderful experience.

We could overcome difficulties with some good guidelines and instructions, some handiness with tools, time and patience, and that is why success was assured, and Henry got a very advanced ranking among his peers. It's also very useful to consider trials of others, to make use of their experience, and avoid their errors and mistakes. So, I recommend this blog for you, as you will find there lots of useful information: http://www.hovercraftbuilding.info

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