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Nashwauk-Keewatin Students Build Hovercraft

Updated: 05/27/2014 6:28 PM
Created: 05/27/2014 5:07 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson

Talk about a hands on project. It all started with a snowmobile and a little imagination. Now, the engineering class at Nashwauk-Keewatin finally got to see their hovercraft on the water.

They already knew their hovercraft could hover.

"We had it on the road, we had it on the snow, but when you take it out on water you have that capability of sinking," explained industrial technology and engineering instructor, AJ Abate.

The water was their final test. Nashwauk Fire and Rescue stood by just in case there were any problems, but the hovercraft cruised across the water without a problem.

"It was wild," said Abate.

Abate's 14 engineering students at Nashwauk-Keewatin High School had a few doubts about their semester-long project cutting it on water.

"I wasn't sure if it was going to work, but it worked really well and I'm pretty proud of it," said junior, Shelby Walters.

"I didn't think it would turn as well as it did," sophomore, Taishon Hallmark, said.

In their introduction to engineering course, the high schoolers started from scratch.

"We started just getting ideas online and looking at different people's hovercrafts. Then we designed our own in AutoCAD and then we took it to the shop and used our designs to make it," explained Walters.

The students designed it all from the decals to the mechanics. The first challenge, Abate said, was how to turn a snowmobile into a hovercraft.

"You got your steering, motor, exhaust, and we used the clutches off the snowmobile," said Abate.

With the donated snowmobile and other materials they had to buy, the hovercraft cost about $800. But for the students, their piece of work is priceless.

"You can ask anyone of these guys, it was probably the best thing you'd ever do in school. Build a hovercraft," said Hallmark.

Last year, the class built a flight simulator. Now, Abate said they're thinking of making another hovercraft so Nashwuak Fire and Rescue can use it for ice rescues.

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