View Full Version : Help with inflatable hovercraft

flygod - n/a
24-Aug-07, 09:52 AM

I have inherited an inflatable hovercraft.

Well, there are glass fibre bits that sit in an inflatable dinghy.

Can anyone tell me more about it. It needs a lot of work, just wondered if it would be worth it or if it was one of those "good idea at the time" things,

Very best wishes,



profqwerty - n/a
24-Aug-07, 10:03 AM
Do the boat tubes inflate from the fan, or do you have to do those by hand? It could be quite a neat idea really. Does the engine start? Looks funky!

peterd51 - n/a
24-Aug-07, 12:05 PM

looks a bit dodgy if it inflates the 'boat' from the engine...

if the engine stops the whole lot goes to the bottom of the lake!

It must be a modified 'standard' inflatable, pumped up before use...surely?



kach22i - n/a
24-Aug-07, 01:27 PM
I have seen that model in old hovercraft books and in Janes Surface Skimmers. I don't know anything about the performance but I like the concept. As I understand it you inflate the raft part and seal it up. The fan provides thrust and ducts about 1/3 of it below for lift. The air escapes underneath the rubber raft with what I assume is a 1/2" air gap. You will not be going over any obstacles larger than a pebble but you will not sink when the engine goes out either.

Please restore it and tell us all about it.

FYI-1: There is at least one Russian hovercraft maker using that concept today. It's about twice as large and even has inflatable seats. However I think it attaches a bag skirt to the RIB/inflable part.

FYI-2: Slider Hovercraft use an inflatable section but have a complex air supply trunk system underneath which feeds some tiny fingers at the bottom edge of the inflatable. http://www.hovercraftsales.com/

kevinf - n/a
24-Aug-07, 02:15 PM
It looks a bit like a Pindair Skima 4 - they have an inflatable perimeter tube like a RIB, with (I think) a loop and finger skirt. The hovercraft museum has a number of these in working order. In it's day a very capable and robust design, ideal for beginners because it doesn't break when you hit something.


machineage - n/a
24-Aug-07, 07:37 PM
Looks like an early Pindair craft - possibly a Skima 1 or 2 judging by its size - roughly 10ft long? They dated from the early '70s. Is it integrated - ie does it have a splitter plate behind the fan to duct some air into the skirt? If so it could be a Skima 1 and these are quite rare I suspect... To my knowledge all of the Skimas used a standard loop and segment skirt. The Skima 2 had a seperate lift engine at the bow - as in this pic:


The idea of using inflatable elements within a hull structure is still in use today. Griffons 470TD which are in operation with the RNLI have inflatable sponsons - as did the 2000s which operated in the Iraq war. Air Vehicles Tiger 12 has them too. If partitions are incorporated they provide a safe and expansive amount of buoyancy as well as a light structure.

Looks like a great project! Mike Pinder the guy behind Pindair is still around (wonder if he reads this forum?) He'd be able to confirm / advise for sure!

There's a great Dr. Who video on Youtube somewhere featuring a Skima 2 (I think?) in which The Doctor flys over some unsuspecting body at one point - which as it happens was one of Pindairs sales gimmicks!


Keith Oakley - n/a
24-Aug-07, 10:41 PM
Looks more like a homebrew copy of a Skima rather than any of the originals right back to mk1 - Pincushion. I'll try to get brother Barry to take a look - he actually built most of them.

Jonathan - n/a
26-Aug-07, 02:23 AM
Chris, How is your Mustang coming along? It looks like a very interesting craft!


machineage - n/a
27-Aug-07, 01:56 PM
Chris, How is your Mustang coming along? It looks like a very interesting craft!


Hi Jonathon - well - I'm moving soon to a new residence so the Mustang will be on my doorstep as opposed to some miles away - which will make life much easier http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Feel free to PM me if you want more info.

Colin - did you decide what to do with the inflatable craft yet?


flygod - n/a
27-Aug-07, 03:28 PM
Hi all,

Haven't decided how to best progress this.

For information, the engine has two shafts from it, one to drive the thrust fan and the other to drive the lift fan.

There is a hole in the bottom to allow the air underneath then there is a bag skirt.

The dinghy is basically a tub with two compartment - one on each side - with a single sheet floor.

I was hoping someone might know what it was so as I could then identify the rubber dinghy it was based on.

Then I could look at getting the fibreglass parts repaired and the engine rebuilt (although it turns, I am sure it will need work).

My thoughts are that I might need different shaped pieces of fibreglass to fit a different make of dinghy, so more hassle.

Very best wishes,


Keith Oakley - n/a
27-Aug-07, 03:39 PM
Brother Barry (yes it is him in b&w Skima photo above) confirms it isn't a Skima. He thinks it might be a Skitabug. Hovercraft Museum had one so they may be able to confirm.

Don't hold your breath, performance first time around wasn't great so if your looking for a really viable craft you may be better spending time and money elsewhere. On the other hand if you like the challenge of restoring a vintage craft and have access to a nice flat short grass playing field somewhere then push on.

machineage - n/a
27-Aug-07, 06:06 PM
Had a look through my rather sad collection of Hovercraft 'stuff' http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_redface.gif and can confirm it is indeed a Sealand Skitabug! Attached one pic - and if you can send me your email address I'll send you the others including an original product information leaflet.

Totally agree with Keith though it's performance would be nothing compared to similar sized craft available today - but would make a lovely restoration project and save a probably rare Hovercraft from disappearing.