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Team PAYNTRIX 2010 Hovercraft Challenge entry

Welcome to my hovercraft design studio.


Well, we had the ideal location, or so I thought.

It was imediately obvious I was going to have trouble on the rough surface. A quick test flight found that the skirt was getting dragged under the front of the craft causing it to nose dive. On water it was perfect, so all I had to do was hunt out the puddles and I'd be fine.....

Round 1: Multi surface challenge

Lucky Lucky Lucky.....

It was pretty clear early on that the dragging skirt issue was going to hinder me all day with the craft nose diving all the time.

But I had a solution to this, every time it got dragged under, back off the gas, let it re-inflate and away again. This was a bit stop start, but it worked. I had mastered a technique for getting clear of obstacles too, but towards the end of the run the steering servo came loose and I only had marginal steering.

So I escaped the time penalties for assisting, but the total time suffered ending up just four seconds under the five minutes maximum.

After the round, I managed to fix the servo, and had to replace the skirt as it had two huge rips in the rear.

Round 2: Tug of war

Following on from WIWITW and Bobby Dazzler it was clear I wasn't going to lose, but I needed as many points as possible to make up for the slow running.

But I needn't have worried, the superior power dragged Dazzler past the line for a clear win.

WIWITW wanted to save battery power and conceded the win, giving us two wins and my first Round win

Round 3: Manouverability challenge

This was set up to test the skills of the pilot and the ability of the craft to make twists and turns. The carpark section should have been the point that WIWITW made back some ground with his ability to reverse, but he cocked it right up and then Bobby Dazzler saved him by offering a free assist, to get out the carpark.

In this challenge the dragging skirt problem actually became an asset. Once in the carpark, the slight resistance meant I could complete the turn in one swift manouver, without any assistance.

Bobby Dazzler had the same trouble as WIWIW in the carpark and claimed a free assist to save completing the difficult bit. Despite the competition getting a helping hand I still took the most points for my second Round win.

To increase the bag pressure I replaced the skirt with a fresh one hoping that a slightly better seal would help out in the high speed run next.

Round 4: Maximum speed

This should have been a decent scrap between Bobby Dazzler and us, but again the skirt kept dragging every time I got a bit of speed. It was however fantastic on water, but by now the puddles were starting to dissappear. I did find a small stretch of about four metres, where I recorded 13Kph, but I should have chosen a better location for the run.

Hunting down the puddle.... to no avail.

Round 5: Costs

With similar build costs, there wasn't much in this round. Just 23, 48 and 79 to Dazzler, Me and WIWITW respectively.

Sadly not enough to close the gap on the speeding Dazzler.

Round 6: Size Criteria

This round would have saved me if we had defined some penalties for breaching the size limits.

I was spot on for the size, but the other two were outisde, effectively making their craft entries invalid.

I have suggested 10 points penalty for every millimetre they have exceeded by, but they claim I'm just trying to win....

Me ? hmmmm


So, thats it.


Well, maybe not.


Since Steve didn't get a chance to fly, well have another go once his hand has healed. On this basis I've got a more powerful leaf blower to increase the bag pressure and eliminate the dragging skirt problem. I'm also going to make some reinforced skirts to cope with rough terrain.

It's not over 'till the fat bloke wins !




Latest videos:

01/05/10 Pond test with Bobby Dazzler

17/04/10 Carpark test fast concrete surface test with inset on-board hover cam footage

17/04/10 River test

16/04/10 Three vids of Friday test session with Bobby Dazzler

10/04/10 Maiden flight of Hull 2


Building your own? the links below take you through my builds, there may be hints or tips that you find helpful.

Feel free to copy my ideas, but at your own risk. Good luck.

Having made and tested Hull 1, a re-design was called for to improve the weight distribution.

Hull 2 build (click here to go to Hull 2 workshop)

There are three parts to my original hovercraft build

    1. Lift (Click here to go to the LIFT workshop) updated 22/02/10 Lift motor servo
    2. Thrust (Click here to go to the THRUST workshop) Updated 20/02/10 Engine 2 servo attachment
    3. Steering (Click here to go to the STEERING workshop) updated 10/02/10 full steering construction.