Watch the video first:
You are right in thinking 'this is not a plane!' and are right to ask 'why is this on Flite Test?'. Well, apart from this 'craft' using aircraft parts and looking very much like a jet fighter without wings, maybe it doesn't belong here. However, the spirit of Flite Test is to push our limits and explore new parts of this RC hobby. I think that experimenting with an EDF jet engine in a boat may well tell us more about aircraft themselves, and even how aerodynamics compares with hydrodynamics.
This EDF 'hydroplane' is based on Bluebird K7, a craft piloted by Donald Campell.
I read every book I could get my hands on about Donald Campbell and his Bluebirds when I was about that age. It was a fascinating story, one of daring adventure and risk involving man and machine being pushed to the very edge. This story is about a man who broke world speed records in the 1950s and 1960s with truly remarkable machines that many regard to be ahead of their time. One of the most famous of these was Bluebird K7, a hydroplane designed to do 250mph on water.
Campbell and K7 set seven (!) world water speed records. There may have been an eighth, but tragically Campbell was killed when the craft somersaulted on Lake Coniston, in Cumbria, on 4th January 1967. Reportedly, K7 had reached a max speed of 310mph on its first run up the lake that day.
Being into RC and making things, I always wanted to build some kind of model of Bluebird K7 and have it rip up and down a lake. Once, I did have a go at putting together a rocket powered thing, which certainly looked great, but never got to test it (which is probably a good thing). Now that I've started in earnest with Project Air, I've realised something - I can now build a Bluebird, the one I wanted to all those years ago. In addition to this, we're going to run Bluebird in the same place that Campbell did, Lake Coniston.
The hull of K7 is being made from heavily foam board, balsa wood, plastics and card. It's not very technical, but it will work with a good coating of waterproof treatments.
There will be challenges ahead to get it to work just right, balance out and all that, and I know hardly anything about boats which doesn't help, but you know - we'll see how it goes. I will learn. To stay up to date with this project, make sure you're subscribed to the Project Air youtube channel as there will be videos about it there.
Thank you for reading!