Human-Powered Hovercraft - Steam Boat Willy

Human-Powered Hovercraft - Steam Boat Willy

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Steam Boat Willy's origins were in 1994 as part of a student project at University College London's Human Powered Flight Club. It was the only vehicle of its type in the world, that being a one-man powered hovering and controllable hovercraft. Visit the website for Steam Boat Willy at for more information and updates on the craft.

Performance Specifications for Steam Boat Willy

Source: Human Powered Hovercraft, 2011

Lift fan

Volume flow rate (cu ft/sec) 17
Pressure (lb/ft^2) 4
Efficiency (% at 1200 rpm) 0.61


Diameter (m) 2.5
Blades 2
Thrust (N) 57
Efficiency (% at 240rpm) 0.70

Pedal Input

Power (ft lb/sec) 326
Cadence (rpm) 60


3 Chains of width (mm) 6

Craft Specifications

Hump Speed (m/s) 3.5
Weight (incl. pilot) (kg) 128
Hull weight (kg) 56
Structure weight (kg) 15
Moving parts weight (kg) 15.3
Cloth (kg) 5.7

Page updated: Saturday, September 13, 2014