Introduction: RC Thrust Vectoring Hovercraft (used in Jet Fighters)

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This is unique- I use thrust vectoring (used in fighter jets), that I haven't seen in other hovercraft, I also use an air diffuser to help get the hovercraft level, and stable.

This hovercraft works on water, land, and snow. It works best on snow, and land. It works decently on water. The surface (snow or land) should be smooth,for optimal performance. Grass, very rocky areas, and mud is not recommended for flying it.

This instructable is to teach you how to make your own thrust vectoring hovercraft like mine. this can be made in a week, or a weekend if you are a fast builder.

How a hover craft works (opens in new page)

We will start building in the next step.

Step 1: Materials, and Plans

Materials needed-

  1. Foam. I used dollar tree foam board.
  2. 2 motors. I used brush less motors.
  3. 2 Electronic speed controller for brushless motor, or esc
  4. Suitable batteries, I used 2 lipos, one for each motor.
  5. Servos, I used a cheap 9 gram servo
  6. A radio tx, and rx.
  7. Material for the skirt, I used sturdy cloth, plastic Bags can be used too.
  8. propellers for your motor, a data sheet for your motor usually recommends an appropriate prop.
  9. wood or carbonfiber for re-enforcements.

most of the materials can be found on

Total cost is less than 100 US$


cutting knife, hot glue gun, soldering iron

Step 2: Building the Hover Craft Body

depending on the thickness of your foam, cut many identical pieces, then glue them together to make a thicker body, the thickness of my hover craft body is 2 cm, without the diffuser (next step).

To achieve the curve of the main motor bay, I cut thin slits on the foam, making sure not to cut all the way through. since i used dollar tree foam, I had a thin layer of paper on both sides, so if I did not cut the second layer of paper, i could curve the foam. Look at the pictures.

I attached magnets to the electronics bay hatch to make a flip hatch, the hinge can be made through tape.

the thrust vectoring unit was made by attaching 3 hinges to a doubled piece of wood (the base), and then attached more wood to the other side of the hinge. The base was attached to the hovercraft via hot glue, and I attached a piece of foam to the swilling side to give a base for the motor, look at the pictures. I attached 90 degree supports to keep the base perpendicular. I also mounted. a servo horn which connected the servo inside via music wire. Finally I glued the motor on.

I made the skirt 8 cm bigger than the hovercraft dimensions. I used cloth but you could use garbage bags, or polythene shopping bags. It is harder to cut but not by much. You might expect it to leak air, but I cant find any leakage which is good.

Advantages of cloth-

  1. much more durable than polythene or garbage bag ( my garbage bag skirt tore in its maiden flight)
  2. It might get wet but it will not scoop water like other hovercraft, as the water just drains out the back ( for water usage)
  3. Easy to find/cheap.

  4. If the cloth is very thin, or has few weaves, the it will leak air evenly, leading to a more level hovercraft( rather than the air coming through a large hole.)

For balance one battery sits in the front, and one in the electronics bay, they are held by velcro

Step 3: Air Diffuser

I saw this video that does the same thing as me, and I used it, but this is not stealing, as I give the video credits for this part, just the air diffuser. Watch from 3:05 to 6:30 for a the original. I did not cut a opening that big on the bottom of the skirt.

The point of this mod is to spread out the air more evenly, and to protect the propeller from debris, and sand/stones thrown up by the air cushion.

Step 4: Tuning, and Final Checks.

Depending on your motor orientation, and the direction of the motor, you need to change the direction of your propeller.

The servo will have to be centred, and trimmed out. the thrust vectoring is very poverfull, and if you have a computerised radio like this one, then dial in dual rates to make it less sensitive. those who dont have computerised radios, should be gentle with the thrust vectoring or it might not give a smooth ride, I have a video on the first step on how the hover craft drives.

The back motor does not have to be too powerfull, and I ran it at 25-50% speed.

That's it, please rate me if this was useful, as it takes time to write, and make a project for you guys. also vote for me on makerlympics, and super sized. Please look at my other projects, like opening a door with a motor, touch sensor, and arduino.

Happy building, I will respond to your questions when I get time.

Enroll in my 'Electronics in a nutshell' course here:

Also check out my youtube channel here for more projects and electronics tutorials:

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