Having recently parted with the last of a
series of ultralight airplanes, I decided to
start a new project with my 14-year old
son and some of his friends.
Scanning the Internet, I came across the Universal
Hovercraft website which modestly proclaims: "We
are the world leader in hovercraft technology and
the world's largest supplier of hovercraft plans,
kits and parts."
A phone call to a cheerful Donald Small at UH
confirmed that the model 13-P was their quietest
and most efficient 2-person design. He thought it
would make an excellent father-son project.
In early May 2003 we placed our order for their
most complete UH-13P kit, and a few weeks later a
very large crate arrived containing what you see in
It's a Mean Green Machine ... and it actually flies!
The full story...
The culmination of nearly a year's work -- our first flight on a frozen lake in New Hampshire.
|The complete "kit" -- less engine, prop, fan and duct.
Do you think it will fly?
Still to be done: A final coat of paint, better graphics (that's blue masking tape!) and maybe a windshield.
the photo to the right: Seven sheets of Styrofoam, six sheets of 1/8" plywood, 11 yds. of fiberglass cloth, 1.5 gallons of
epoxy resin, 7.5 yds. skirt material, 250 skirt screws and various and sundry belts, pulleys and cables. There were also three
sheets of blueprints, a video tape and a manual on hovercraft building. We also received (not shown in the photo) a
pre-formed propeller, a 4-bladed lift fan, a fiberglass lift duct and a 25-HP, vertical shaft, air-cooled Briggs & Stratton lawn
Having built several ultralight aircraft from kits, I quickly realized that this project might be a bit of a challenge. The UH "kit"
was, in reality, an assembly of the raw materials needed to build the craft. To top it off, neither my son or I had ever, in our
entire lives, laid eyes on an actual hovercraft!