Hovercraft: “how it works” experiment
October 9, 2015


Make your own hovercraft and test the principles of how a hovercraft works with this fantastic experiment.

You will need:

• Pop-top cap from a recycled plastic drinking bottle
• An old CD
• Craft glue
• Balloons of different sizes (small, medium, and large)
• Balloon pump (optional)
• Stopwatch
• Large flat surface for testing the hovercraft


1. First you will construct the base of the hovercraft, so gather your supplies and prepare a craft space.

2. Remove a pop-top lid from a plastic drinking bottle.

3. Close the pop-top lid so that air cannot escape, and glue the base of it to the CD so that the lid covers the hole in the centre of the CD.

4. Allow the glue to dry completely.

5. Next you will test the hovercraft with your balloons of different sizes. Choose a very small balloon, a medium-sized balloon, and a large balloon for this part of the experiment.

6. Blow up a balloon and pinch the neck so that no air can escape.

7. Stretch the neck of the balloon over the pop-top lid.

8. Place the CD hovercraft on a flat surface and prepare your timer.

9. Start your timer, open the pop top lid, and gently push the hovercraft. Stop the timer when the hovercraft stops hovering.

To make this a proper science experiment you’ll need to do several timed trials and make a table of your results. For each balloon you should do at least five timed trials. Record the time in seconds for each trial.

Next calculate the average hover time in seconds for each sized balloon. Do this calculation by adding together the times of all five trials, and then dividing your answer by five.

Finally, like a good scientist, analyse your data and make your conclusions. Did you notice any trends? Which hovercraft hovered for the longest period of time? Why do you think this happened?

To find out more about the hovercraft and feel a tactile picture of how it works, borrow Super Transport Touch to See book.

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