Introduction to Ultralight Airplanes

Homemade Hovercraft - You Can Have One Too

There is a lot of information online about homemade hovercraft, tutorials how you can make one and a lot of videos. Unfortunately it's quite unorganized and overloading and if you want to learn how to make a hovercraft yourself you'll have some hard time managing through all of it. In this article I'll try to organize the information a little bit and to help you really get started.

Homemade hovercraft
Photo by guochai

Why Homemade Hovercraft?

Why not building ultralight airplane or homebuilt helicopter? Surpinsingly there are really many reasons for that. Have are just the few most important ones:

  • In fact, it's simpler. A complete amateur could be surprised to hear this. If you want to buy a personal hovercraft you will be "welcomed" with a price of about $25k - almost the same as of some ultralight aircraft. However the hovercrafts can be much, much simpler than those and the ultralight airplanes. In fact a simple hovercraft can be built with materials on hand and for a week or so. No chance to make an airplane so easy and fast!

  • And of course, it's cheaper. To build an experimental aircraft you need professional parts, engine and so on. Like already said that's not required if you are building a homemade hovercraft. Don't you believe me? What are you going to say about this one? Things like the hovercraft on this video or even like this one (must see!) can be done for about $200.

  • And no license is required. Really, like you have seen on the above videos, even kids can use the hovercraft.

Let's be frank, if you are a real aviation entusiast and dream flying, hovercrafting isn't flying - it is far away from it. You can't trick yourself, don't think of it as a real aircraft substitute. But if you are looking for nice recreational tool that's easier and cheaper than airplanes, then homemade hovercraft is simply a great option.

What Do You Need And How Much Time Is It Going to Take?

The exact list of materials and tools will depend on the specific homemade hovercraft project you want to execute. I'll just give you some directions about the very minimum required for successful building:

  • Detailed plans or instructions. I know there are many videos and visual tutorials online but only when you start building you will really realise that you need something with sizes on it. Unless you very well know what you are doing, you will need hovercraft plans.

  • Tools: Screwdriver, Hammer, Saw, File and a Heavy Stapler. As I said, this is at the very minimum. You may need some more.

  • Plywood or other board material. That will be your "fuselage".

  • Plumber's and Duct Tape. You are going to need a lot of this.

  • Chair, stool or some other seat - well, for a seat.

  • And of course a powerful leaf blower(s). Most homemade hovercrafts use one but some projects may need two.

On top of that you need some entusiasm and patience, but much less than is required for building an ultralight airplane.

The experienced do-it-yourself fans can build their hovercrafts for few days. The rest of us may need 2-3 times more time to work, but it's still a very achievable project.

So, Where Are The Tutorials?

Here below I've collected few of the best homemade hovercraft instructables for you. Don't forget to search for hovercraft plans in addition to them - even if you need to spend few bucks, they may save you a lot of headache. If you are building some of the simplest projects however you could go only with the online instructables and books:

If you think I have missed some really informative instructables, please share them in the comments so everyone can find.

If you are not ready for building an ultralight airplane, maybe building your own homemade hovercraft is the right project for you!

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User comments:

Andy Fling at Jan, 11 '12 14:49
Not quite flying, but fun all the same. I remember seeing a kit for one when I was a kids. Brings back memories.
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Luis at Dec, 17 '15 15:13
Haha, glad you liked it Stacy. And, you are correct, evyoerne needs a little kick in the behind from time-to-time. Once you think you're good enough you settle and stop improving. Here's to always improving and sucking less!
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