Human Powered Hovercraft :: Steam Boat Willy

human powered hovercraft


Showing posts from 2010.

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First father and son

Another great HoverShow today, in bright sunshine. As you may have guessed from the surnames on our list of new pilots and passengers, often members of the same family hover in SBW for the first time on the same day.
But one after the other.
However, today, Phil Wilkinson piloted and carried his son Joe Wilkinson as passenger. Both were new to SBW.
Also today:- Joshua Carlisle and Shayna Cree, passsengers and William Martin, a new pilot.

Posted on [17th Sep 2010]


Whiteley Village Eco-Event

Today at Whiteley Village, near Winchester, we had a whole coach-park to be able to demonstrate in at this event, thanks to Al Menzies. Thanks also to all those who helped us demonstrate by being plucky enough to have a go themselves. Brian Franklin(passenger), Mark Renyard, George Ward, John Simpson, Wayne Williams, Andy and Nick Taylor, Elliot, Jorga and Jemima Raine(passengers), David Raime, Toby and Matthew Steward, and Ulrike and Roger Munford.
And particularl thanks to Jess Broom who helped us effect a repair to the craft.
We used the extension seat today, this makes it easier for shorter people to reach the pedals and be comfortable. The craft as a whole was made to suit 6'2" Alexi. The extension seat was made to suit 5'2" Kana Miyagi.
Despite gusty wind conditions, all new pilots made good flights.

Posted on [10th Sep 2010]


More new pilots

Today , August 1st at the Hovercraft Museum, these people became hovercraft engine/pilots for the first time by pedalling SBW :-
Philip O'Brien, Siegfried Lenz, Sam Tripp, Alex Tripp, Mike Sharman, Scott Forbes, Magnus Bender, Lee Comerford, David Salter, Michel Salter, Susan Henley, James Henley, Jamie Kingh, Luke Jeffries, Bill Sharp and David Callaway.
Also Michael Milburn, now age 12, gained more experience with the controls as he piloted the hovercraft forward.

Posted on [31st Jul 2010]


New Pilots and Passengers July 2010

At Portsmouth July 17 ( see report below), the following people became airborne under their own legpower alone for the first time in SBW :-
Alan Burgess, James Morgan, Beau Bulchers, Macauley McDonald, M.J.C.B., Jack Campbell, Matt Damper,Gail Harrison, Neil Harrison, Peter Parkinson, Chloe Rowsell, Keri Fisher, Sam Richardson, Cheryl Richardson, Steve Richardson, Brad, Elliot, Dan, Steve, Jake, Miles Fletcher, Ross Underwood, Louie Morris and Chris Collier,
and the following had their first passenger ride on SBW :-
Sammy Burgess, Mollie Gallagher, Alexander Damper, Kalsang Tsering, Sophie McLatchie and Rafael.
and on the 18th July at Lee-on-Solent ( see report below) the new pilots were:-
Ethan George, Florine, Martin Harding, Ellie Harman-Taylor, Wynand, Isaac, Harry Bird, James Gibbons, Joshua Gibbons, Kieren, Tony Kerley, Andrew Hopkinson, Nick Dilley, Robert Dilley,
and new passengers that day were:-
Ben and Sian.

Posted on [18th Jul 2010]


Portsmouth Green Fair Aug 17

An eco-event at Portsmouth. Nice sunny day. Nice crowd. Maybe you were on the mainline rail Waterloo to Portsmouth and looked out of the window and couldn't believe your eyes when you saw what looked like a pedal-powered hovercraft. Don't worry, nothing wrong with your eyes, that was SBW.
All was going well, and a lot of people had had their first hover, and quite a few more were hoping to do so, when "Crack ! Oh ! No! ", someone's foot slipped getting in and their foot went through the centre deck one side, then they tried to regain their balance and "Crack ", their other foot went through the centre deck the other side. Disaster ! Show stopper !
Maybe - but not for us. The show must go on. Pass the tape, stick it up.
There I was sticking bits of tape, while doing the jigsaw of the shards of deck-pieces,
and we hadn,t even looked at the bottom. I didn't know how badly damaged the bottom was yet. Do the top anyway. Sufficient unto the day... Then we looked at the bottom. His foot had narrowly missed some vital structure. A cotton tape had broken. Do that up with tape too.
Within twenty minutes we were hovering again.
Simon doing hectic looking manoevers, new people having their first go.
All operational again.
And the guy came back and said "Sorry ".
All in a day's demonstrating.

Sunday 18th at Hovercraft Museum.
Another great HoverShow,
It was back in 2007 on 5th September that we proudly anounced that SBW had carried a passenger, Ethan George who was then 6 years old.
Today, we proudly announce that Ethan, today for the first time, did his own pedalling in SBW as pilot ( and engine ).
Quite a few other people also became hovercraft engines for the first time.

Posted on [17th Jul 2010]



I expect you all know Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.
Well, its been proved true with regards to us trying to get the fingers on the craft's skirt to be all touching the ground at the same time.
At last we are getting somewhere - about time too !
This is how we eventually did it after trying out various other methods :-
First we made legs for the craft such that the frame is held at the same height as when hovering. Then someone gets in and pedals, but not quite hard enough to hover. So, the bag fills but the craft stays in one place - not hovering all over the place as it usually does. This means that the precise out-of-alignment of each finger can be observed, and that it stays in one place long enough for you to work on it and correct it.
Now, inside the bag part of the skirt we had fitted a number of internal cords. By adjusting the length of the cords, we were able to slightly modify the inflated shape of the bag. This lifts, or lowers the fingers in the vicinity of the cord.
We've just done it - it works.
Then we took the legs off just to check that things were really OK when we were really hovering. They were OK.
I, Chris, was aboard for this, and we noticed that one cord had not been adjusted. Simon tried to but declared that it was impossible because I "just wouldn't stay still", when I was really hovering, and not just on the legs.

Posted on [2nd Feb 2010]


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