Tempest is Close

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A little while back I put the Tempest out to pasture. The exile did not last very long at all. She has been brought back in stunning fashion. I spent many weeks bogging and sanding to get a smooth finish to the hull. I then re covered the hull in carbon fibre. So now it sits flat, she was a little bumpy before. The adding of more carbon fibre had the added benefit of strengthening the hull further with out adding to much weight. Carbon fibre is very light. I added aluminium highlights and a gunnel for looks and hit protection. I changed the steering to go under the new seat. The new seat will take three people now not just the one as before. I added an instrument cluster where there was nothing before. The handle bars remain but installed nicely this time with no steering mechanism showing. I put the fuel tank under the seat so it is not seen anymore. I have built an engine frame and will be installing a Rotax 582 this time, I put the Rotax 503 in the shed. She now has 15 more hp to burn. I am almost ready to install the engine just getting the duct in the right place and the rubber mounts the right height. So from the prototype that she was she is turning into a very good-looking lass. The ugly duckling is becoming a beautiful swan. I am very pleased with her looks. I hope you will be to. I think all the hard work and attention to detail is paying off. From concept to a finished Hovercraft has taken almost two years. Good things take time after all.new rhino painted 026

Still building

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Both the Accipiter and the Tempest are being made pretty. I did try and sell them as they were. Performance is not enough if they are not pretty I have found. I do what I can to keep the cost of the hovercraft down. I figure they can always be made pretty. What is difficult is making them work well in the first place. I do get a little frustrated when people want cheap and pretty. These two things do not generally go together in life let alone in hovercraft. So I am working hard bogging and sanding away. The process is dusty and dirty and takes longer than the design and building phase put together. The finished result will be awesome. Guess what, they will be expensive as well. Oh well I can only but try to lead the horse to water, the drinking is up to the horse.

Tempest has a new reinforced hull with more Kevlar and more carbon. A bullet won’t hurt it now. It has 65 hp not 50 hp. It has a new engine frame. It will have new seating so it can take passengers. I will put some storage space in it. I will hide the battery and the fuel tank. I will put plenty of bling on it in aluminium and carbon fibre highlights. Lots of work to do but i’ll get there.

Accipiter is getting the decks smoothed out. I’ll paint them and make them look awesome. I have a new engine frame which lowers the EA81 Subaru engine and changes the drive ratio. The fan will spin faster and push like a madman. It will also clear the duct entrance and allow more airflow at all speeds. Low speed steering will improve as will the top end speed by quite some margin. She is going to be quite a hovercraft.

When they are both finished they will be worth plenty as they are both one offs. Designed and built by WA Hovercraft. The world has never seen these two hovercraft and never will again. I have my doubters but they drive me on and always have. These two hovercraft are in my opinion very good and perform at a very high level. I look forward to finishing the beautifying and unveiling two spectacular hovercraft. It will happen here in the not to distant future. Stay tuned.

Accipter and the Tempest

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I have been a little slack updating my web site. I’ll see if I can change that.
Since last writing I never stopped building. A new hovercraft has arrived the Maxi Rhino. Her name is Accipter. This is Latin for bird of prey.

The new beast is of my own design. I drew from many different hovercraft designs to build what I think is going to be something special. It comes in at 4.24 M. Driven by a single 876mm 8 blade fan. Power comes from a modified EA81 100hp Subaru engine with Amax redrive. Made of 3mm ply sealed in epoxy paint covered in carbon fibre. The bottom of the hull is 4 inches of polyeuthrene foam. Making this craft unsinkable even if cut in half. It has special gills to make the front end glide with little skirt pressure. Kevin Dixon invented these long ago but they never caught on. Others have used half cut pipes on the hull to pull air down to prevent plow in. The air lubricates the hull bottom so it is not sucked to the water causing a nasty stop. The usual electrical actuated elevator wings. A few other surprises as well. She is registered I am awaiting the rego sticker so it can be tested.

The Rhino has been modified a few times trying to get more performance. I sewed 108 skirts or two sets before I got it right. We are onto our forth set. It has been trying and difficult. Each set was tested with very negative results. I ended up using three different size skirt segment to get the contact line perfect. To do this I put the craft on a land cruiser tyre. I can report finally today positive results. Flawless performance super quick hump time almost unnoticeable. Massive acceleration you really have to hang on now. Tempest is now back to her very best and improved as well. Takes a wave very nicely and has power to burn at 50hp. I do want to try 65hp to see what a weapon it could be. Watch this space.

Do you want a Black Rhino?

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Tempest

Tempest

The Black Rhino is a creation of Hovercraft WA. She is unique and a genuine bespoke build. Many features of other hovercraft I have been influenced by are included in the design. The completed build is like nothing on the market today. I took the best of what I know and rolled it into one package. We will not be going into the moulded hovercraft business. My personal opinion is a moulded hovercraft is never a light as its custom built cousin. While building a hovercraft from scratch is more difficult and time consuming it is the best way to get the performance at a high level. I believe looks only go so far if it doesn’t work and put silly grins on a dry face. Spray is a undesirable feature on Hovercraft but a lot of hovercraft out there should just be fancy showers.

There are many hovercraft on the market today. If you want to buy one do your research and ask experts in the field which hovercraft actually work well. There are plenty that look the goods but are very disappointing in the performance field. I have seen many hovercraft over the years built 16 craft from scratch and put one kit together. Not all hovercraft are equal buyer beware.

The Black Rhino took 3 months to build and this was very fast and took long hours to complete. She has been improved every time I feel it needed to be done. I will continue The Black Rhinos evolution. The latest build is the Hover Ute she is half done right now should be a few more months till it is completed. Unless of course you reading this want me to custom build you a Black Rhino or her cheaper cousin the White Rhino. Black done in 3mm ply, carbon fibre and carbon Kevlar. White done in 3mm ply Fibreglass and Kevlar. The price depends on options chosen. Go nuts or keep it simple. You will be able to see the craft as it is being built and add personal touches to make your hovercraft unique.

Clarkson Hammond and May Live.

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hovercrafts cannon camera 050http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/clarkson-hammond-and-may-live-and-on-full-throttle-at-perth-arena/story-fnhocxo3-1227447519975

Above is the link to the Newspaper article and photos.

A busy four days has just passed. Tempest was used in the Clarkson Hammond and May live show. Upon first seeing a photo of The Black Rhino a few weeks back the production crew thought that Tempest would be great for the show, and so it turned out. I spent a lot of time backstage getting to know the production crew and stage hands alike. Everyone was very friendly and accommodating. My part was very small. Make sure the hovercraft goes when it is supposed to. Mr Clarkson does not like it when machines do not work properly. Tempest did get some stage fright during a rehearsal when I wasn’t around. Nothing major she was just frightened as she has never been started by anyone other than me. Yes I anthropomorphise with my machine. During the event Tempest was very well behaved and showed off nicely. Mr Clarkson was heard to say while it wasn’t the prettiest hovercraft he has seen, it is the best flying one he has been on, and the best steering. High praise indeed from a man in the know.
I put a lot of effort in to making her perform at a high level not so much on her looks. Making things pretty adds weight and weight is the enemy of Hovercraft. Tempest is a cruising hovercraft and can keep up with the bigger more powerful hovercraft in our WA Hovercraft club. She will take ferry waves in her stride, something small hovercraft usually cannot do well. Also she is very economical 17L of fuel for 74kms around Mandurah estuary. Tempest can be made into a very fast sports machine by shortening the skirts for a firmer lower ride. Also by tuning the fan to put out more thrust and less lift. A few less blades is an option for more thrust less lift. Personally I like to have lift as my priory as once that is good the hovercraft will thrust better on less HP. A 65hp Rotax engine is an easy option to really get her to boogie. Tempest would then be a weapon in the wrong hands.
See the rest of the blog for the build for start to finish. Everything is in there wins and losses. I believe in a warts and all approach. How else can hovercraft builders see what works and what doesn’t. I like to put it all out there and actively encourage builders of hovercraft to give it a crack.

Building a Hover Ute

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I have already started, the new hovercraft is much bigger than the Black Rhino. It could probably carry it. I am in the process of creating a sports hover ute. The idea is big enough for the family, practical size for loading and unloading by ones self. Good cargo ability and the ability to be sporty once the family and cargo is off. Reliability is a must for me so it will be built in as well. So far it has a new front end new flotation, new air delivery and a whole new look from anything I have done before.

The cockpit area is done the planning panels are on. Needs glass work then the decks go on. I’ll keep you informed.

Finale of Black Rhino, Tempest

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Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

Good to see some pics from the Rally. Here are a couple taken on the small SA run we did with Jeremy & Family on their way over.

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

Fantastic effort Jeremy! Both the effort to build the craft and the mammoth drive over by you, Miranda and the kids! I was great to have you all there and I’m really glad you felt that it was worth the effort. Attached one more photo for the collection ( in low res) I have this and more in much higher resolution so if you’d like the “originals” let me know and we’ll figure out a way to get them to you.

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

Cheers and thanks, Flemming and Buck.

I’ll tell you that 7500km is a long way to come and show off a hovercraft for the weekend. Was it worth it, a MIGHTY YES it was. Tempest was flawless with no breakdowns even though I did my best to destroy her. (see previous post) I could not have possibly imagined nothing would go wrong at all, especially with my track record. So I am very pleased my imaginings became something that actually works well.

I did put a awful lot of time and effort into Tempest’s creation. Even though it seemed a short period of time, it was a pretty intense period. Reading back I did some wicked days and hours. A massive thank you to my beloved wife for putting up with my obsessions and understanding sometimes I just can’t stop.

I would invite anyone who has viewed or got to fly Tempest, to convey your impressions and observations for our forum readers good or bad. I will also answer any questions anyone reading might have on Tempest or how to keep a marriage together while building your new mistress. :D

Feel free to add any pictures you have as I got none at the rally.

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

Great to hear trip back was without major problems. Enjoyed seeing the Tempest in action, even if you did beat me in the sprint :D

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Glad To See You Got Back Ok. Thanks For The Insight Into Tempest.

Pictures of Tempest being built.

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Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

Kevin Dixon on the Murray. Love the big Grin after a burn on Tempest.

Below Bruno Davids on Tempest.

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Home and safe. A very long trip home 4 days of 10 hours each. We have all made it safely. The 4th day was very challenging crossing the Nullabour in the dark 4.30 am in heavy fog that lasted for 300km. We travelled a distance of 7500km to Moe and back.

I think the Black Rhino was well received at the 2015 Rally. There was lots of interest and plenty of questions. Tempest performed very well in the events without taking a placing. Tempest did make the sprint final but was left out after the officials oversight. If you ask me I am pretty sure I had it in the bag. I let the throttle off in both heats before the finish so as not to push to hard.

There was one incident. Yes I did fall out, lets call it pilot error. No damage done to The Black Rhino she is tough. I would never do that to a hovercraft on purpose. Lets call it a test passed.

Here is a great picture of Bruno Davids of the SA hovercraft club. He is the perfect model for the Black Rhino Hovercraft. Thanks Bruno

On the journey over and back Kevin and Christine Dixon in Adelaide looked after us like family. Providing a house to stay and lunch and dinner. Not to mention fixing my steering on Tempest. Kevin also added some flavour to Tempest with a custom made beacon holder, awesome. We can’t say thank you enough for your hospitality.

I will post more pictures of Tempest, the Black Rhino Hovercraft. Give me a day or so to recover from the drive.

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Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

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We were fortunate to go out hovering with Jeremy and family on Thursday, who took some time out from many days of driving to accompany myself and Kevin to the Murray River.
We had three craft in attendance, Jeremy with Tempest, Kevin with his Hornet and myself with the Eclipse. Despite a bit of a late start due to traffic delays we had a great day on the river. Temperature was around 20 degrees and winds were light which made great conditions for hovering.
The first run was a short trip up river and into one of the small lagoons, which was scattered with reeds and small tree stumps, requiring some well planned navigation. All craft ran well, but Jeremy lost a few rear segments so we headed back to the launch site for some quick repairs.
We did a number or runs up and down the river and Kevin & I were also given the opportunity to take Tempest for a spin. The craft is light and responsive and jumps out of the water and over hump very quickly. Have never driven a craft with a Harley seat and ape hanger bars before so it feels a bit like a scene from Easy Rider.
The reception from a number of people camping in the area was good, with a number of the campers taking an interest in the craft.
After a few runs we loaded the craft up by mid afternoon and made our way back home. Jeremy and family were leaving from Victoria Friday morning so needed to make a early start.

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally
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Day 5. Out hovering on the Murray with the SA club. Good turn out for a weekday. Bruno has offered to do the cruise report so stay tuned. Off to Moe tomorrow. A long drive ahead. Not sure we will make the bbq but we will dam sure try! 2015 hover rally we are there. Oh the Rhino still runs very well

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Day 4 Adelaide, meet Kevin Dixon today and fixed the damage done on the way over. Kevin did a great welding job to fix the snapped m10 bolt. The hours went by quickly as I got a hovercraft education from a very experienced Kevin. He offered accommodation and we have gratefully accepted. Hovering on the Murray tomorrow, can’t wait!

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

« Reply #65 on: Apr 07, 2015, 6:32 am »

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Day 3 making good time. Should arrive at kimba today. Rough journey for tempest the big trucks are taking their toll. Repairs will be needed.

On our Way East Coast Dwellers

« Reply #64 on: Apr 04, 2015, 10:35 pm »

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All packed, fuelled up, trailer hitched and ready to roll out to the rally. It is never as easy as writing it for sure, the first lot of trailer lights wouldn’t indicate left. I fiddled then the lights didn’t work at all. So then I had to rewire the old lights. After what seemed an eternity for a 5 min job I did get a working light bar.

Adelaide boys we are on the way tune up those hovers to try and keep up with the Rhino. :D. Bruno Davids has kindly organised with the SA club for West and South to have a cruise on the Murray, thanks Bruno. It is happening this Thursday 9/4/15 A good turn out is expected Bruno tells me. My family and I are looking forward to it very much. (My darling wife for a break from travelling with our children Aurora 5 and Jericho 2)

I have passed over the mighty Murray 5 times and each time I have wanted to fly its fine smooth waters. Avid readers, fans and doubters look forward to a cruise report the night before the 2015 rally where either spectacular and epic failure or a small tick in the box will occur. Where is your money? Mines on Tempest beating the odds as long as the journey over agrees with her.

2015 Hovercraft Rally, Moe, Victoria HERE WE COME with Tempest in tow, the wait is almost over to see what this guy has been on and on about……… Finally!!!!!

out from under the cover

« Reply #63 on: Apr 02, 2015, 9:54 pm »

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Thanks Tony for the info, it inspires confidence that even if the weather won’t play we still can. Shivering and complaining I’ll get Tempest out. Last few days of prepping for the journey. Lots of things to organise and pack. The back of the car is like a Tetris game to get in and out. We got a Waco fridge for the trip a much needed piece of equipment to keep the beers cold for the evenings spent looking up at the Southern Cross. Only 3 sleeps till we leave.

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

« Reply #62 on: Apr 01, 2015, 2:10 pm »

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Jeremy never fear Lake Narracan is not a huge body of water so is less wind effected than large Lakes, surrounded by rolling hills on one side and narrow channels along its length it is an all weather lake compared to larger lakes.

https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Lake+Narracan,+Victoria+3825/@-38.1600174,146.3162318,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x6b290f1866127c31:0x2a0579a46d5ebb40

Local indoor

« Reply #61 on: Apr 01, 2015, 11:16 am »

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So are we to meet at the local indoor swimming pool should the weather be inclement? Knowing Melbourne just wait an hour and we’ll get something different. I am sure there will be calm periods to get the hovers on show. Rain is fine as we all know, it is wind that is not fun for us!

Can’t wait to get on the road, getting all twitchy with anticipation.

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

It seems that quite a few menbers will be attending without a craft this year or else can’t attend at all for a variety of good reasons. However, your Rhino is still going to have to stand out from a group of 20 + craft some small, some big and some bigger again…. (exact numbers are still not clear but I don’t think we will make 30) I’ve put in the requst in regard to the weather but the weather Gods are a fickle lot so we will just have to wait to see what they dial up…. What I can say is that the contingency plans if the weather is not optimal is strong so a good time is guaranteed one way or other…. :)

Photo release.

« Reply #59 on: Mar 31, 2015, 10:25 am »

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I have plenty of photos ready to go. There are a few floating about in the general public at present. They have all been told to hold the presses until Saturday the 11th. After that go nuts. Tempest is rather unique looking and as her name suggests she will cause commotions where ever she goes. Its not that I built the best ever hovercraft, it is that she appeals to a large demographic and leverages off a more popular invention than the Hovercraft. :o

How cryptic is that? You will all know what I mean as soon as you see it. You’ll know which one is the Black Rhino even if it is sitting amongst 30 other hovercraft and you have never seen it before.

How many craft are attending the rally Peter? Yes please, organise a nice weekend for us. The Black Rhino was born in warm weather and might not want to come out from under her cover if it is to cold and rainy. :P

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

« Reply #58 on: Mar 30, 2015, 7:09 pm »

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A shame I can’t come down to see the long anticipated unvall I’m going to have to wait for the pictures to be uploaded cheers Ben

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

« Reply #57 on: Mar 30, 2015, 7:04 pm »

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

« Reply #56 on: Mar 30, 2015, 5:25 pm »

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The weather down this way right now is actually rather stunning. Blue skys, calm and mid to high 20′ today and tommorrow at least. Then a bit of a dip over Easter but I’m really hoping that we will score top weather again for the rally weekend. The last touches are being applied in terms of planning and all I can say is those that can’t be there are going to miss out! Will be great to see your new craft! Would also be great if you could drag a few people over from SA on your way!!

Weather

« Reply #55 on: Mar 30, 2015, 10:40 am »

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Looks like rain all the way to Adelaide, then sunshine Thursday for our outing. Then rain Friday all the way to Melbourne. Looks sunny for the weekend at least. We’ll do our best to drag some sunshine from the West.

Leaving Sunday morning for Norseman if we can get that far on the first day. It is always difficult to get the children to settle into driving long distances. We find by day two and a half the children get used to the routine of driving and all is much better. I am off to the Library to get some audio books they seem to keep me awake and concentrating.

Not long now, I thought the forum would be lighting up with activity this close to the Rally. Maybe in the next few days we’ll hear more?

Trailer Mods

« Reply #54 on: Mar 24, 2015, 10:35 am »

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Yesterday was trailer day. I added two pieces of lumber to the skid rails and made them extra wide. The Rhino needs the extra surface area to load properly as the lower landing pads are within the slide rails. They need to be on them. While loading for the first time I managed to rip one of the pads off and tear a hole in the bottom of the craft. So I glassed it back up, should be dry today so I can check the other side. Tempest is on her trailer ready to roll on over to Victoria.

I added some 10mm bolts to the rudder frame as the rivets were loosening off with vibration. I redid the spinner and adjusted its place in the duct. This required some grinding and some choice words. 2mm off is always a pain in the rear.

While changing trailers I found the 582 in the Viper 5 would not play. It has been sitting without love under her cover for a few months. Took a day but I got it to fire eventually. Lesson here is two strokes require attention or they get angry. They will work forever reliably if used weekly, however you ignore it for a couple of months and you will have a job to start it. The spark on a 582 is very difficult to see but is usually there. The 582 must have enough revs to make the magneto send spark to your plugs. It will turn over all day and not start if the revs are to low. Off the top of my head around 400 rpm is needed to get a spark from the hitachi set up.

Thanks

« Reply #53 on: Mar 21, 2015, 8:08 pm »

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Thanks for the positive feedback Stuart. On the day the comments were more colourful. Somewhere along the lines of “Well we never got the lightweight viper for a cruise because of fuel problems on the day. The red one sat for so long I wondered if it could move, Oh and the Shuttle that never worked at all. So I like this one cause it actually worked first time out.” Pretty close to Stuarts comments. I agree with everything he said I have had a bit of a bum run as all who have read my ramblings know.

Since that outing I have done plenty to make it more reliable and quieter.

I added an after muffler to the 503, much better mostly fan noise now.
I moved the battery forward to the front of the craft for better balance.
I rewired it again.
Skirt is now level all around the craft on the lower attach points. Not as easy as it sounds.
Safety guards in place, now no hand can enter the fan without meaning to do it.

No more work is allowed the boss has spoken. It goes as it is as more fiddling could lead to problems that I won’t finish before we leave.

Thanks for the input Stuart I’ll invite you to write again for sure. :)

Re: New Hovercraft for National Rally

« Reply #52 on: Mar 20, 2015, 9:56 pm »

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Hi all,

Been a while since I was on, and seems like an age since I was out on the Viper. Now the main news is I’m honoured, neigh privileged, to have seen the vessel that has become the Tempest. As Jeremy has said we went out for a cruise and I was very impressed with his handy work, being something that he only started two days before Xmas 20914, its pretty amazing what he has put together in such a short time.
Now I’m under pain of death should I post any images of the whole craft, but here is a taster of what’s coming over east from the west. Wish I could be there, but work priorities will get in the way.

Anyway, when went out, there wasn’t much wrong with what Jeremey has done. He has already explained that the front of it was a little high… I could see the water under the front. Sound like a hive of bees (quiet though I though) as it buzzed along and it was certainly up and off the water. We tracked at around 22 – 27 knots, it was pretty calm along Melville Water. I tracked along in echelon formation as it was the first time really out for a long ride.
All in all very impressed.

The Black Rhino continued…

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The duct moved when it was loaded on the trailer. Not much just a mm or so but the fan only has 3mm to play with both sides. I need to re fabricate the engine mounting steel. The holes allowed me to move the engine to get it centred. Problem is under load the engine moves to its preferred position which is not my preferred position. Pain in the backside.

The duct needs lifting so it stops contacting the hull. Contact with the hull creates vibration, vibration is the enemy of hovercraft. Vibration at specific harmonics destroys hovercraft. Nuts come off and bolts come undone bolts snap, all sorts of weird things happen.

It does seem to work, the hover height could do with lifting. Another painful adjustment that requires the skirts taken off lowered re attached. So the lower skirt attachment will need lowering as well. Far easier to write than to do.

I will fix the engine mount first, then the duct and go for a ride before fiddling with the skirt. Give me a week to get the repairs done.

Alright, fixed and almost ready to fly. I had to move the front engine mounting points 3 inches rearward and 2 inches higher. Not quite as easy as it sounds. A trip to my local Bunnings, where I have brought so much stuff over the last 5 years they gave me a trade card. I got a wooden sleeper to make the mount. I could have just got a longer m10 bolt and done it that way. However, I thought it through and the bolt would more than likely bend over time. So I went with the wooden mount with a m10 embedded.

I had to figure out how to stop the engine wonder. I got a flat steel bar and put the m10 holes precisely where they needed to be so it can’t move. I put it on top of the existing steel bar and bolted it back together 4 times before I stopped the rub in the bottom left hand side of the duct. I also put the m10 x 15 tap through the engine mounting points they looked a little worse for wear. I put in longer s/s bolts to hold the engine firm.

I fired it up and we have wind again, lots of wind. 50hp with 9blade 5z with a 860mm duct makes vast quantities of air.

It is now to hot to go in the Sun to finish the seat mounting maybe later. Temp gauge says it 35 degrees already, it is 10 am. Going to be a hot one.

To beat the heat, I go inside and have a shower cool off put clean clothes on and go back out. I sometimes go through 4 sets a day it is the only way to work as being soaked in sweat is uncomfortable and dangerous around electricity. Water or sweat on epoxy is not good either.

There has been some discussion about epoxy and its quick pot life.

I get plenty of working time by using a slow hardener and more importantly small batches. I use the pumps to get the perfect mix and use 5-10 pumps of each the resin and hardener. I always use a 50mm brush as they are cheap and jut the right size for doing taped edges. Epoxy doesn’t burn your skin the same way polyester does it is far easier to mix quickly with the pumps (West system)

Also I have used the product Megapoxy and had good results. Both the thickened epoxy for gluing and the thinner stuff for fibreglass. On this build I used West Systems Epoxy. I so love the mixing pumps makes glassing so much easier for both big and small jobs. But you pay for convenience.

The Rhino had its first water outing today. The throttle cable is not long enough so it revved slightly above idle, it lifted off and tried to move with just this small amount of throttle. I couldn’t tell you the rpms as I have no rev counter. I took this to mean it was going to work. I took it out over the water and it felt ok. Dragging the rear end it felt like. I moved the fuel tank to the front and the seat behind and tried it again. It leapt off the beach into the water and accelerated like no hovercraft I have ever owned including the White Knight Lightweight Viper cruiser. Wow does it blow the hair back. I knew it would be fast but it is another level of fast, very exciting. The fan moved again into the duct and that was the end of the test. Now I have to find another way to fix the engine mount but that is a small detail. It works people it really works, honks along too.

I went to the trimmer after the successful test run to get a quote to make it look as good as it goes. All with out adding to much weight and killing the performance. So next week the Rhino is going for a makeover to make it really special. I was worried it might not work well enough to get to the rally, I did keep that quiet as no one likes a pessimist.

It is coming to the rally, it does work very well.

The Black Rhino has been named, her name is Tempest. As of this morning it is now registered in WA as a boat. This now means I can take it out for a proper test. I hope to do this this week. I need to make sure I wasn’t dreaming last time I tried it out.

I have made a few modifications to the engine frame, fingers crossed I got all the Gremlins out.

I got it out on Tuesday. It was a little rougher and winder than last time. I pushed on anyways. It seemed sluggish and slow to start with, until I found the other half of the throttle. Cable was a little long as it had stretched so I wasn’t getting anywhere near full power. When I got it, yes it worked again. It was not the fast beast I remember from last time though, ok but not great. I found the hull slapping on the top of waves. I almost got chucked going sideways as the cushion let go and the hull meet the water. The issue as I see it is the hover height is to low. I did put the attach points higher than I ever have. Oops, I’ll move it lower and see what happens. Plenty of power from the engine happy with its output. The engine frame moved just so slightly again so it needs a rethink somewhere. Tempest is at the trimmers getting the interior done and a cover made.

So more to do not to much time to get it done either.
It was painful but I lowered the bottom skirt attachment points. It wasn’t as easy as relocating a few screws unfortunately. The lower hull is carbon fibre into foam panels. Screws will not hold up to punishment and I will punish it. So I used sika flex marine adhesive (swear by the stuff sticks to anything and gives a flexible join). I glued aluminium stripping to the hull then screwed the attach points to the aluminium. Job done, not quite. The rear skirts were way to high. This is what happens when you do not use plans. I covered the drilled air feed holes with a piece of ply. Then redrilled the feed holes 50mm lower. I then reattached the rear skirts. I also moved the front skirts lower. Now as I said in a previous post how did this craft work at all with all the skirts uneven?
The engine frame, I drilled another piece of steel and bolted it as another bracing piece. Seems to be holding for now. I will just add bits until it doesn’t fail. No point starting heavy and reducing weight easier to build it to where it has to be to work, but only just. Better not to be an engineer as an engineer will tell you most things we do are impossible on our hovercraft. So I’ll clean her up and get her out on the weekend to see if it is fixed and the gremlins beaten.
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Life is to busy at times, this is one of those times. I have not had a chance to get Tempest out on the water. My days keep getting hijacked. Next chance to get it out will be Thursday next week it seems. After that no chance until the following week. I really hope I have time to make it work before April 5. This is the deadline and the day we leave for Moe. Not long to go and I am feeling the pressure. I had a wonderful purple patch there for awhile, I got a lot done. My hope is next post should be a cruise report, fingers crossed.

I got Tempest out for a test flight this morning. A little windy but otherwise ok for testing. Water reasonably flat. It went pretty well today, no engine movement I can see. The extra frame work I installed yesterday seems to have done the trick. I took Tempest for a long ride around the Canning river. Still seems a little heavy in the rear like it drags its bum. Being a smaller craft than my usual fare I am not used to the balance issues such a small light craft throw up. I am still having trouble with the thumb throttle that is a little broken and causes no end of grief, also the throttle cable is to short. I’ll get a new throttle cable and fix the problem and if that’s the worst Gremlin I have left then he shall be easy to slay.

I hope to have time enough to get it just right in 4 weeks time. I doubt all the issues will be sorted by then but it will be good enough. My aim is to show anyone can put together a hovercraft with minimal skills. This becomes obvious when you see it in person, I have left the warts for all to see.
Stuart Herring just happened to be in town for a meeting so popped down to the river for a first glimpse of the Black Rhino. So tell us what did you think, without giving to much away please?

Sounds Biblical, Stuart Herring (4x Viper) called for an emergency cruise. He is busy until after the rally so Today was the day to go. So we went. To the Swan river for a jaunt and to test the Black Rhino on a longer cruise. A quick trip around deep water point, a cable tie replaced. Oh and I fell out on the land, rookie mistake I let the cushion off a little to much. I wasn’t moving very fast so only pride damaged. I have never flown a small craft like the rhino before. The Vipers I have are wide and don’t ever flip up.

So out to the main river we kept to 20-22 knots and just cruised on a very calm Swan river. Tempest sounds like a pack of bees humming along. A growing personality for sure. We turned for home just south of Point Walter. I pushed a little harder on the way back 25-27 knots. The engine cut out at one point. The Rhino came to a beautiful halt with no nasty plough and ejection. Very Pleased with that. It would not however get up on water and the back skirts would not drain. So a little Gremlin still to fish out. Got it to the bank and emptied the skirts and off to the boat ramp without further incident.

The craft performed well couldn’t get the grin off my face. I still need to adjust the lift part of the duct but she’s a goer just making it better until the 5th of April when we begin the road trip East.

The Tempest is epic, and fun to fly. ;D

Well the weather here has been horrible for the last week or so. I finally got Tempest out today to test my latest modifications.

I moved the front skirt segments down as they were higher than the sides. She still worked as she was but Stuart did say he saw light under the front skirts on our run. This could mean heaps of lift in the front which it has. However the gap below the skirts should be the same all the way around not just the front. I also moved the battery to the front for balance. I mounted the seat on a hydraulic pedestal and fixed the fuel tank into place.

Now it hovers very well and leaves not a wake above planning speed, just as it should be.

I keep blowing rectifiers for some reason, but that doesn’t stop her working at all. The battery is more than enough to start her all day. I’ll look into this one for an easy fix if not fix it after our trip.

So I recon I am 85% there, the last 15% is not possible in the two weeks we have before we leave so, I have decided to keep it at this level as it works well but not as well as it could with more time. Any more fiddling could result in making it worse.

I have no Tacho so tuning the fan is overly hard so I’ll go with 37.5 degrees on 50hp Rotax with a 9 blade 5z. I am sure it would be better at 39 odd degrees but that requires lots of time to get just right. I just don’t have it any more.

So for the next two weeks when there is time I will spruce it up. Then apply some more safety guarding (a little minimal at present). Finishing the trailer to carry it over would be a good idea as well.

Getting real close to go time, tempest is a working prototype and ready to go as is.

Now when you get to see the black Rhino realise she was started on the 23rd of December 2014. So she might not be as pretty as she could be. I lost my measuring tape along the way so a lot of Tempest is eyeball measured. This means she isn’t straight everywhere. There are bolts all over the engine frame, this made mock up easier and required less welding. Point is anyone seeing it will believe, quite rightly that they could build one like that. After the rally depending on the reaction I’ll take her further and finish the Black Rhino to 100% and straight and pretty. For now Tempest is a prototype and a one off build.

I was approached at the servo by a bloke asking if he could buy it then and there. Didn’t even ask the price! He was driving a Ferrari at the time. I had to decline his offer. I explained She is going to Melbourne for the 2015 Hover rally. I hope this is an indication that Tempest is a desirable toy to have