My all-time hero is Donald Campbell. You probably already know that if you’ve seen enough of my videos; I’ve made a few hydroplanes and some of them are very blue.
Hydroplanes fascinate me. They’re a weird cross of a boat with an aircraft in that these boats use lift to raise themselves all the way to the top of the water, where they can accelerate with a relatively tiny amount of hydrodynamic drag.
Donald Campbell was famous for breaking water speed records in a big blue jet powered hydroplane named Bluebird K7. This boat was (and still is) a beast, and reached some unbelievable speeds throughout it’s 12 year record-breaking career with Donald in the pilot’s seat.
Seeing as though it was originally Bluebird K7 that got me interested in hydroplanes, and wanting to build some of my own to investigate this unique vehicle type, I’ve ended up building a big blue boat of my own. This is my current hydroplane, and right now I’m in the process of rebuilding it into a jet-propelled model with my Swiwin SW120B turbojet engine.
Originally, it was propelled with two large brushless outrunner motors as an airboat. It was always intended as a sort of large test bed to learn about hydroplaning.
If you haven’t already, watch the initial build video of this boat right here!
Here’s the video of me testing Bluebird with the electric motor setup.
I felt the crash was a good opportunity to take what I’d learned from the test running and rebuild the boat.
Initially, I had wanted to build a land based vehicle as my first project to use my shiny new (and quite expensive) turbojet. Keeping it on the ground, I thought, would probably mean that it would come back in one piece. Thing is, as demonstrated by my rocket car video from last summer, it seems I have a lot to learn about building a car from scratch! Hydroplanes can be less complicated and, as long as the thing doesn’t sink or crash too hard, the engine should still work by the end of the video(s).
In terms of the configuration. The engine will be mounted atop the large hull/fuselage – piggyback style. A large fuel tank will be installed within the fuse at the centre of gravity. Electronics will be further forward, towards the nose. The old carbon motor pylon will be removed.
Lots more will be done to turn this ‘Bluebird’ into an impressive craft worthy of that name! All of that will be the subject of the first video I intend to make taking you through the mods, testing the systems and putting it on a small body of water for some initial slow speed running with jet power!
I can’t wait to get the engine fired up on top of the boat for the first time. I think it’s going to be an amazing project, and definitely the big one for 2022. In the meantime, I’m doing a small project on some small 3D printed rocket hydroplanes you’ll be able to print at home with a file kit.