View Full Version : Building my own hovercraft

Ashwin Murali
11-Aug-09, 03:31 PM
hi all, i'm a final year mechanical engineering student and i'm looking at the possibility of building a hovercraft, along with a couple of friends, for my final year project. We are basically looking at building a single seater hovercraft with a max payload of 150 kgs as we only have a limited budget.
What are all the materials required for it?
How do i build it?
Could any one of you help me out by answering the above questions or atleast provide me with the links wherein i can find such information.

Also i am looking to innovate in one little aspect atleast in the hovercraft. Is it possible? If so, could you suggest some ideas for that too?

Ian Brooks
11-Aug-09, 04:59 PM
The big challenge for light hovercraft is noise. I normally do not advise people to design their own craft - but you are Mech Eng so you should be capable of doing it. Split three ways, I suspect it would be of final year project level.

If you do decide to go with it, then I can help with initial background reading and also with some of the calculations that you do. We also have a noise expert in the Club, I'm sure he could be persuaded to help with ideas and data on existing craft.

So the project might be to design a single or two seater light hovercraft for the leisure market which has a noise level less than 72dBa at 25m - this would put your craft into a market leading position regarding noise levels. To achieve this, you would have to design from the ground up with low noise as your objective.

If you are interested, pm me. Presumably you will need to get one of your lecturers interested in supervising the project too.


11-Aug-09, 05:04 PM
Hi Ashwin,
To answer your posting in full would take countless hours.
May I suggest that you spend a bit more time looking at this forum as just about all of your questions will have been asked and answered many times before.
When you have read up a bit more I am sure that there will be many of us wiilling to help out on more specific queries.
As for being innovative, you may find that after 50 years of hovercraft design to find something useful will be a challenge.
However Good Luck with the project.

Kip, ( over 40 yrs in hovercraft!! )

Nick Drew
12-Aug-09, 11:17 PM
where are you based dude? I did my final year mech eng project on hovercraft design.


Ashwin Murali
13-Aug-09, 01:03 PM
@Ian: Thanks a lot sir. Since i'm new to the world of hovercrafts, i'm now working on improving my knowledge on hovercrafts. This includes studying the various existing design of hovercrafts. Once i'm done with it i'll consider the possibility of trying out a new design. Your words were really encouraging and i'll give a thought to your idea too and contact you. Thanks a lot sir.

@ Kip: Yep. you're right sir. i should go through the archives of this forum. As for the innovation, it need not be something path breaking. I'm looking at doing something different, say, for eg., doing some alterations in the engine used to run the blower. Though it doesn't count as an innovation in the working of a hovercraft in specific, it still is something new and that would be enough to satisfy myself and convince my professors (who feel that just building a successful hovercraft is good enough). Thanks a lot for your encouraging words sir. It has given me confidence that i can count on you all to help me out if i were to have any trouble. Thanks again.

@Nick: I'm based in Coimbatore, India.

13-Aug-09, 04:21 PM
Nick, I think you had better get on your bike now.

Ashwin, Keep in touch and while you are at it you could check out the small Tata engines for us. They just might have one we could use.
Regards, Kip

Ashwin Murali
18-Aug-09, 09:08 AM
Hi all,
I spent the last couple of days updating my knowledge on the Hovercrafts. Though a lot remains to be learnt, i've got a decent idea on Hovercrafts. How does one design a skirt for the hovercraft? I plan to build a reasonably small hovercraft (6ft x 4ft). For a payload of 150 kg (including the craft), what is the blower capacity (in hp) required? Also what is the propeller speed or propeller driver capacity required for the same in order to move the vehicle (no high speeds required; a reasonable speed of 20 km / hr would do)?
Although i came across a lot of different hovercrafts in the net, i still feel that i should go through various designs of small existing hovercrafts. Suggest a website or a web link wherein i can access the designs for free.

Ashwin Murali

Jon Pert
18-Aug-09, 09:34 AM
Hi Ashwin,

You'll struggle to find any decent plans for free as the craft that are available are supplied by businesses who are there to make money. You wouldn't expect to find information on how to build a BMW for free would you?

Plans can be purchased from some of the sites here http://www.hovercraft.org.uk/showthread.php?t=18860

There is also some information here http://www.hovercraft.org.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=28

Good luck.

18-Aug-09, 11:21 AM
Ashwin I started with the clubs plans on the Challenger. If I had to do it all again I would still start with the Challenger, its wooden and fast to build. It floats and has a small engine and fan.

From there you would have learnt enough to build any other craft if you really want to take it further.

That's my suggestion.

Ian Brooks
18-Aug-09, 07:48 PM
For thrust and lift requirements, take a look at these:




Design of a hovercraft starts with a guess at the all-up weight. Divide this by the skirt area, and the resulting pressure should be in the region of 10 to 15 lbf/ft^2. Then make sure the weight does not exceed the initial value as the design proceeds and you firm up on things, its an iterative process, so create a spreadsheet to keep track of it.