Building a Hovercraft
I have decided to build a 18 foot Hovercraft for river hunting.
Using a Juiced up 4 banger for thrust prop & 27 horse Vanguard or larger for lift.
Any Dos or dont do thats.
Was going to make a straight Fan boat but want a little better access in shallow waters.
Thanks for ANY advice,
I use to have a hovercraft, actually 2 of them. High maintance. Airboats will travel shallow water, and no water, but use a lot more fuel and have the power to get you out of trouble, instead of being highcentered in a hovercraft, or with a torn up skirt. The only place I can think of offhand that a hovercraft might be better is very soft sticky mud where the suction can hold down a airboat. For hovercraft info, call hovercrafts of alaska, les 632 1584 and Dale 632 1586. Very knowledgeable guys, friendly, see if they will talk to you, they are retired and no longer in the hovercraft building, but have built many. Bud
I apreciate that very much akblackdawg.
I will call them.
When I first started dealing with Les and Dale, I told them I didn't want to pay a arm and a leg for the hovercraft. Opps, one of them has a arm missing and the other a leg. Glad they thought it was funny, I didn't even realize it at the time. Bud
O My Gosh,
Talk about the wrong thing to say.LOL
For an 18foot boat, you're not going to need a lot of power for lift or push. I have a friend that built two. The first started as a 16 foot about 7'wide with a single 25hp vanguard for lift and push. Although it worked it was sluggish getting moving. He added 4' and another 30hpvanguard for push. It will now pop up and go quickly with or without load. 15hp would probably be enough for lift but 20/25 will give quicker response and allow you to run at less rpm on the lift. For that small of boat a 30hp vanguard will give plenty of push without the added weight of a water cooled car engine. His larger boat ,a 24'x12' uses the same 25hp lift engine and an 1800cc Subaru engine for push. Both engines are plenty of power. I believe it has had 3000lbs or more of gear an people in it and it still lifts and takes off quickly. It cruises easily at 30+ mph and top speed is over 50. There are a few different skirt designs and some are better than others especially on narrow twisty rivers where you need positive steering. Google Sevtec Hovercraft. Just make sure you build yours with a lift and a pusher engine as they are much more controllable than a single engine. Sevtec uses a smaller front and larger back air compartment under his boats. The front can be collapsed to work as a brake and for steering which makes them very manuverable. I have been on several hunts using the hovercraft and they have some real advantages over other type craft.
I hope that your SURE you want to build a hovercraft because they have a lot of maintenance and service needed. Not a week went by that I wasn't having to work on mine. They are best suited to areas that are a lot more open and have lots of shallow mud bars and little wind. Advertised cruise speeds are not what you are going to get in small rivers and other areas. At the end of the day it is a lot less hassle to just get an airboat and have all the payload and room you could want. This wasn't one of those el cheapo hovercrafts either, this had come from U.S. Hovercraft. Great boat, great construction (loved the all aluminum), just not as practical as they seem.
My 2 cents