Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is that a real Delorean?
A. I'm flattered that you might think so! But it's actually a sculpture of one. The body is made out of styrofoam insulation that I glued together and carved into the shape of a Delorean, then fiberglassed, and painted with metallic paint.
Q. Is that a hydrofoil?
A. No. "The term 'hydrofoil' is commonly used for the wing-like structure mounted on struts below the hull of a variety of boats, which lifts the boat out of the water during forward motion, in order to reduce hull drag" (from wikipedia). A hovercraft does not have any hydrofoils lifting it up.
Q. Is that like one of those Louisiana swamp boats?
A. No, you're thinking of an airboat. While being driven, the hull of an airboat is skimming across the surface of the water, but a hovercraft's hull is hovering above the surface.
Q. How does a hovercraft work?
A. The fan in the front pushes air down, under the craft. Some of that air is diverted into the flexible vinyl "skirt", which is like an innertube around the perimeter of the hull and traps the rest of the air into a high-pressure pocket that lifts the craft about 6-8 inches off the ground/water. Some air is escaping under the skirt at all points at all times, so in theory, even the skirt isn't touching the ground/water (in reality the skirt drags on the surface in many conditions). A second fan pushes air behind the craft, driving it forward. Rudders behind this thrust fan turn the craft.
Q. Will it sink if the engines stop?
A. No, the hull is made out of styrofoam; it floats.
Q. What kind of engines does it have?
A. The lift is provided by a 6 horsepower lawnmower engine driving the 24 inch fan in the hood, and the thrust is provided by a 23 horsepower Briggs and Stratton twin cylinder utility engine driving a 36 inch fan in the back.
Q. How fast can it go?
A. 88 mph in theory, 31 mph in practice.
Q. Did you design it yourself?
A. I designed most of it, but the core components related to the hovering functionality were based on a popular kit hovercraft from Universal Hovercraft, including the hull, skirt, and thrust fan duct. I designed pretty much everything else, including the gullwing doors, windshield, engine mounts, trailer, and the steering, electrical, lighting and fuel systems. I'm grateful for all the help from the creative builders in the HoverClub of America, who would answer my questions and offer their own designs for inspiration. I borrowed the design for the new lift engine cover from a talented hovercraft builder named Dave Beachy.
Q. How long did that take you?
A. It took about 4.5 years to get it operational for its debut in August 2012, and I was continuously working on and improving it between then and when I sold it in November 2019.
Q. Are you crazy?
A. If building this makes me crazy, I don't wanna be sane.