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Airboat Plans: How to Build an Airboat

Building an air boat form ‘scratch’ requires a quality set of air boat plans: consisting of complete step by step directions, materials list, full-sized patterns and hand or powered-tools required. Air boat plans designed for the first-timer builder come complete with easy-to-follow instructions to help get a self-build project started as soon as possible.

Airboat in Action

Highly maneuverable in use, the shallow bottomed boat, with its airplane-style engine and propeller, is put to use for multiple applications. This includes its use for general water enthusiasts, tourist trips, search and rescue, fishing, etc., and operates in saltwater or freshwater. Designed to skim shallow waters or marshlands, a one or two-seat air boat is constructed with a high center of gravity to offer a solid, stable performance at speed.

Perfect for maneuvering through stump-filled swamps, vegetation-filled lakes (or similar inaccessible trails), or even deep waters, the mini air boat offers one of the finest modes of transport for skimming-across shallow waters, at a depth of 2 or 3 inches.

Most of the parts needed to self-construct an air boat are often available at a local DIY store – although, if purchasing a complete do it yourself air boat kit all parts come prepackaged for complete ease in getting started.

Authentic Mini Plans and Kits

AirBoatFun, Canadian Airboats, and Glen-L offer a great selection of reliable mini air boat building plans designed to aid in the construction of 1 or 2-seater air or swamp boat. Featuring a straight-forward construction process, these plans assist in each step of the build process, including such works as the frame, deck, engine mount, propeller cage, etc, as well as installing the electronics and controls.

Mini air boat kits often complete with all items related to the fiberglass (containing resin, strips of tape, roller, squeegee, and brush) and standard fastenings (all screws and nails required).

Self-build plans are often customized to target a particular use, such as those aimed at fishing or hunting activities, often come designed with a wide variety of extras – rod holders, dome lights, a full walk-around, swivel seats on bow, Bimini top, intercom system – for instance.

Airboat Fundamentals

Steered and operated via acceleration, the use of a swamp boat calls on navigating skills that are not seen with similar on-water recreational vehicles. An air boat needs to be up on plane to function at full capacity, achieving this is possible by opening the throttle to ½ to ¾ of maximum speed – once up on plane, lift off the accelerator, and continue to control the vehicle on plane.

No brakes, just a gas pedal / throttle control – a standard air boat isn’t configured to go in reverse – on the water, the forward-momentum of a air boat slows as soon as the accelerator is lifted, dropping of plane, and the friction of the water. Operational control – relating to maneuvers and stops – is learned through experience.

Homemade air boat plans are often designed with the configuration of a single seat at the front for the operator, and 1 or 2 seats at the rear for passengers, although specifications are also available with a single seat design for sole use of the operator. Besides the fun aspects to the swamp boat – these machines also function for a variety of professional functions, such as those aimed at general pleasure, search and rescue, sports activities (fishing or hunting), eco-tourism, law enforcement, and military use.

Professional vs. Home Built

Self-construction air boat plans offer great-savings compared to the costs of purchasing a manufactured, ready-to-fish machine available at a local boat dealership. A 2009 model, 11-ft x 7-ft full deck swamp boat for instance, costs in the region of $4,995 in the preowned market, although this will come with a 150Hp engine, stainless-steel exhaust and rigging, electronic instruments, and 4-blade propeller.

Savings can also be found in a refurbishment project, such projects include those vessels requiring a complete refit, the salvaged or hurricane damaged – as well as the seized, confiscated, or repossessed boats available at boat auctions.

The potential to self build a DIY air boat, sailing boat, kayak, or glass-bottom boat at a fraction of the cost is there – provided that a high-quality set of small air boat plans are to hand.

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