|Once it was all assembled, I got in and started her (have all the controls on the motorbike handgrip). I was fully expecting something to go horribly wrong, but no.
I gave her a little rev and she just picked up, really easily. I backed off, grinned like an idiot and revved her again, she lifted and set off forward. Since I was still facing the garages, a lot of rudder and some more thrust saw her setting off.
Sadly, we were too excited to remember to take any photos of the actual flight, but here's where she came to rest. The scrape marks on the floor are from an inept landing attempt.
Still have to fit the guards, fit the back seats and try and get a longer throttle cable.
Overall, we're thrilled
|This is what we like!!! In fact, this is (almost) the first flight (5MB mpg *Link Fixed*).
She flies pretty well, picks up at about 2.5K rpm and starts flying at about 3K rpm, there is some tail heaviness there though. There's a bit of the gearbox we can remove which weighs about 5Kg, the fuel tank is coming up to the front, oh, and we haven't added the stereo yet.
The angle of each of the fan blades is adjustable and this affects the amount of power it absorbs. It's hard to judge what angle is correct, and currently the engine only revs up to 6K, when it can go to 8.5K. I'll leave it like this for a while...
|She moves, really quite well. I think there's a skirt segment loose at the front and some of the skirt segments are a little spread out - she leaks a little air. Give her a good rev though and she soon picks up, in the limited space available it can be a little unnerving.
I'll adjust the fan angle to give us more power and revs later on, when we're more used to flying it and, hopefully, it holds together.
The carbs need attention as well, they need cleaning and the chokes are missing, and just bunged up. I'm hoping if I can seal the chokes, or refit new ones (they were seized and broke as they were being pulled out) then I won't need to adjust the angle again, she'll just have more power.
|Another bit for avoiding killing people - a guard on the flexible coupling.
It spins at about 8K rpm eventually, so we don't want it flying off. Needs a bit of adjustment, but it'll be Ok.
Fitted the back seat, will paint/upholster at a later date (frankly, who cares?). I realised the passengers heads were a mere 8 inches away from the exhaust manifold. So I fitted the Ali guard/bulkhead.
It makes sitting in the back much more comfortable. We have flown it with 3 of us on.
|A busy day of doing little bits. Screwed the dash in, and put a bit of reinforcement in as well.
We bolted in the exhaust properly, refitted the rudder connector 'cos it rattled hugely, and screwed the duct cover on some more.
I also tidied up the skirt where there were gaps, and all the plugs (2 per cyl) were changed as well.
|What can I say.
Isn't she pretty!!! There's a decent amount of thrust (even with only 6K rpm) and she lifts really well.
This is how she'll be when she goes to the first hovercraft event (21st June 2003).
|She survived the first day out and did well. The first day was a bit slow, the track was made for racers and was narrow and cambered and had a (little!) hill as well.
After a little mocking from the racers I set off for the first lap, went all the way round serenely and came back in. Only had a couple of little problems.
One was the exhaust coming off (hence the springs recently fitted and on the left).
She sounds much cooler now.
On the second day I backed the blades off a bit, to allow her to rev higher. The difference was incredible, where the craft had struggled with 2 people in it up the hill, on grass it went right up now. Not like the racers, but with some gusto. Having the exhaust attached tighter should give even more power.
|After the event I also sorted the cabling out. I only had a pissy little fuel tank, and it ran out when I forgot about it. The fuel pump only runs when the engines running or starting. Once it ran out the little battery couldn't pull the fuel through before running out, since it was turning it over as well. I had to jump it from a car battery.
Now I have a bigger fuel tank and a priming bulb, so that'll not bother me again. I also have a longer throttle cable - it is stronger as well, so more positive. All looks much better.
|Another addition to avoid killing people. The plummers are cast iron, and pulled in the wrong direction (someone pointed out fitting them upside down would have been better). This steel strap will retain the axle if the plummers go.|
|I also painted the last bits (and fixed one delaminated section of fibreglass). The handlebars have been painted to look less like a kiddy bike (which is where they came from).
I've also done some more work on the skirt, fitting extra retaining clips and fixing a few duff bits. I think lift will be improved, as less air comes out between the segments.
Next flight is on Tuesday (15/7/3) at a farm. There may even be water.........