Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

1960 Hovercraft Lineup


When I was in 5th grade, I saw an ad in the back of Boy’s Life magazine for a set of plans that promised show you how to build a personal hovercraft using simple hand tools and old vacuum cleaner motor. Needless to say, I knew that this was going to be the best $2 I had ever spent.

I was going to be pulling up at school, stepping out of my own personal Jetson’s-mobile, while the other kids were busy chaining up their Bicentennial Sears Free-Spirits, and hand-me-down Sting-Rays. I guess I knew that there was going to be an electrical cord issue with the vacuum cleaner motor, but that I could probably figure something out with a lawnmower engine or something.

The plans turned out to be a little disapointing. I would have settled for any of the fine vehicles pictured in this June, 1960 Popular Mechanics spread.





10 Responses to “1960 Hovercraft Lineup”

  1. Bob P. Says:

    Anyone have more info on number 2?

  2. Robert H. Says:

    Yup. Number 2 is the 1959 Curtiss-Wright model 2500 “Bee”, (AKA “Air-Car”) prototype.

    http://www.aerofiles.com/ writes:

    Experimental 2p passenger air-cushion hover-car, built in test form (lower photo), anticipated market in ag application and as swamp buggy; 85hp Continental with 6′ two-blade prop (projected multi-blade props with two 180hp Lycomings) width: 8’0″ length: 28’0″. Michael Cutler et al. Total “flight” time in mid-July 1959 was about 25 hours, albeit only inches AGL; top speed: 35. Displayed at Fort Eustis Transportation Museum, Colonial Williamsburg VA.

    C-W experimented in the field of hovercraft with high hopes that the new technology would save their moribund company, and these hopes caused them to issue news releases and drawings of the new product long before the engineering department was ready. I have seen footage of some of the test ‘flights.’ First, the cars looked nothing like the drawing — that sweetheart was a marketing department dream, not reality. What they actually tested was bigger than a Ford Excursion, but still only seated two. It was a big plenum chamber with controllable shutters all along the perimeter for thrust, braking, and control. What the footage shows, however, is that the car was just barely controllable, even over smooth pavement in good weather. The noise was truly awesome, as well. To complete the dismal picture, hover height was only inches, and there was no flexible skirt — it had less off-road capability than an average sedan of the period. It was a wonderful dream, but to have spent millions on it was typical of a management team that took Curtiss from the biggest in the industry to bankruptcy.”

  3. TFS Says:

    #3 is the hovercraft pimpmobile!

  4. Robert H. Says:

    My personal favorite of functional ACVs is the Aeromobile 200-2 of 1962, shown here in Japan

  5. Willi Says:

    The first one looks like something from the ACME catalog.

  6. Vwcamperman Says:

    Here in the UK, The Gadget show made one for a small challenge using four leaf blowers

    here’s a link http://www.jasonbradbury.com/jason_bradbury/2005/10/diy_hoverboard.html

  7. Steve Matta Says:

    We built one similar to that of the Gadget Show – ours was a circular board with a leaf blower mounted toward the front. It gave the rider something to hold on to.

    Mind you, the rider was typically a youth weighing not more than about 50lbs (22.7 kilo). The supervising adult would swing the craft around using the electrical extension cord making it a wild – but fun – ride!

  8. Michael Crisman Says:

    We were there. Building hovercrafts in the late 50′s and the 60′s.
    We had a three passenger flying hovercraft that was featured in the garage of the house of the future at the 1961 Seattle worlds fair. It was on the cover of Science & Mechanics – Sept – 1961.
    What really made me feel old was finding a mint condition example of the magazine at an antigue fair.

    We’ve been out of the spotlight for many years, but we have some new designs and we seek partners to build. See some info and designs at:
    Keep on hoverin….

  9. Aud1073cH Says:

    When I was in the scouts I ordered those plans too. I opted for the one large disk plan instead of the three small disks plumbed with PVC – even at that age I could tell that the plumbing would be a source of leaks and not distribute the air evenly.

    My 4 foot plywood disk flew under the power of the motor from our discarded Electrolux vacuum cleaner. I think the skirting was the hardest part.

  10. John Says:

    Nice blog. I made a simple hovercraft for my 4 year old son this weekend with plywood a leaf blower and shower curtain. He learned about air pressure. Cool stuff! We found a fun site with neat science experiments like simple hovercraft directions. I will put the link below for anyone interested.