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FT article inspired Foamboard Air Boat on SNow

Hi Flyers,
I was inspireed by this FT Article:

Even though I have several FT planes that will fly off the snow I had so much fun with this build that I wanted to share it. You may notice an FT Flyer in the background that I have flown from skis as well as micro Polaris.
I hope the original designer will post here also. Mods I made to the original design were that I linked the rudders together using one servo and I added the steerable brake which is VERY handy.
I am using a 24 gram motor with 2s or 3s swinging an 8 x 6 SF APC prop but a 7 x 5 works well also. In one pic you can see I am using an "O" ring packaging box as a battery compartment. Works great.

airboat0001.jpg ServoBrake0001.jpg Silver Slo Boat.jpg Snow Leopard0001.jpg Snow Leopard0002.jpg Snow Leopard0004.jpg Snow Leopard0005.jpg

There is also a picture of my buddy's boat which he calls The Tiger but I call the "Slo Boat to China". We are in the trash talking stage before an upcoming race.
Air boat on Snow almost Maiden Video

This is a video of early tests of the Snow Leopard. I have since corrected the CG which is just as important in an Air Boat is it is on an aircraft. Mostly what is lacking here was pilot skill and a brake both of which have been corrected.
PS in Lesson #1 I fell down the stairs with the Air Boat lol


Your ADD Care Bear
I have started a boat too. never got to finishing it... Hydroplane in the works

Now that I have build 6 swappable I think I could start back in to it. You might have inspired me. I had to figure how to mount the motor high enough to get the prop clearance needed.
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Updated Video Snow Leopard Dial In Finally

Video today of the Snow Leopard (12-16-2014)
I think I am ready for my challenge race with my buddy ASAP, hopefully before I break it. It sure is fun but I use up the batteries faster now without crash landings.
Here is a pic of my new budget video set up idea that I will try soon. Both of the quads have video cameras in them. Whoo Hooo AirboatVid0001.jpg
Hey mate. I love your little mods you've made. I have made a couple of mods to mine and have been meaning to post here showing my small updates.

The brake is a pretty nifty idea.

I'm really glad you're having a blast with my design :)


Finished my air boat last night. I'll be heading to the mountains this weekend and will get to try her out. I plan on making one more so my friend and I can blow around together.

Finished my air boat last night. I'll be heading to the mountains this weekend and will get to try her out. I plan on making one more so my friend and I can blow around together.

That is nice lookin! Good plan to build another for your friend. I had a thought the other day that if I had mounted the rudders upside down I would have had clearance for an elevator or even elevons on the back of the top structure. Food for thought :cool:
Ok, we finally got a few inches of snow so I could give my "snow boat" a try. Like Bruce, I'm finding that anticipating turns is crucial, and you can't have too much speed (it's tough to start the back end swinging out if you have too much momentum). Moving the battery back helped a bit, but I think I need to put more throw on the rudders to aid in the turns.


Also, I need a larger -- and flatter -- space to work in. If I get going down hill, it wants to speed up... if you follow your instincts and cut the throttle, you lose steering (as I found several times as seen in the video). And this thing likes to keep coasting downhill once you get going regardless of what it's heading towards. The brake mod is a good idea -- I'll have to borrow that one!

I'll try to post a few more pix, but I only made minor mods to the original design. I built the rudder support separately as a 4-sided box with corner supports to stiffen it. I then pushed 2 BBQ skewers through the box (top to bottom) about a quarter inch from the leading edge and protruding through the bottom. This assembly was then glued onto the hull (with the skewers sticking through the top deck). The rudders were glued to the skewers. In all, this makes a fairly sturdy structure. I glued a "deck" onto the top of the motor mount to hold my 808 #16 keychain camera. I gave the whole boat a few coats of Minwax polyurethane and a couple of coats of spray paint. I added some packing tape to the bottom to give it a bit more toughness (and slickness, apparently).

Thanks for a fun design! The Mark II version is already in the works (I'm beating up the Mark I pretty badly, as you can see from the video). ;)

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Nice Boat!! I looks like you are having a lot of fun with it.

We have the same driving style. Run into everything.
I am trying to learn to drive mine better because I have a race challenge with a buddy coming up next week.

Today I was running it in my frozen pond and I hit some open water (I hit everything). No problem except that when I exited the water I stopped it momentarily and it froze to the ice! Luckily it was close enough to use a rake to retrieve it.

I also had a mishap and cut my balancing plug for the battery off with the prop.

I am learning that I can turn (spin) whenever the motor accelerates. Actually I can turn very sharp when the prop accelerates from zero to full throttle. So....as I approach a turn I cut the motor and a second or so later punch the throttle for a quick spin in direction. It seems to work even if the boat is traveling at a high rate of speed. I have not perfected it yet but I hope to.

Lastly I have been thinking about thrust vector. Just drop the rudders altogether and rotate the motor from side to side.
I may build another boat with this in mind. This boat sure survives crashes better than my planes. I use the same technique with them (run into everything)

Keep the shiny side down,
Two motors on Airboat

Hi Flyers,
I have been thinking about adding a 2nd motor to my airboat ONLY for the purpose of backing out of things I have run into. It started by thinking about thrust vectoring for steering but I like this idea of a 2nd motor facing forward that I could turn on to back out of wherever I am.

I am using a DX6i and mostly Orange RXs. IF the people flying the twins can program differential thrust I am sure there is a way to do this. I only need to run one motor at a time.

Any help would be appreciated. The less hardware required the better.


After using my two Airboats for a bit it became very clear that you must waterproof the entire thing. It started snowing on us during a run and they fell apart as I didn't waterproof the top deck or inside hull. Running my battery on the bottom deck also gave it great stability. I had no issues with tipping (as in I didn't flip over once) If they started to tip over they would self right every time.

Where is your COG on these boats? They look great by the way. I have a 3s 1000mAh battery all the way to the rear under the top deck now on one side. On the other side I have a large bolt (about 4" x 1/2") to balance right to left as well as to keep the COG 30% from the rear. Today I was running it and a crash relocated the bolt and the boat handling changed quite a bit.If I put my battery where your's is located the COG would be very much more forward.


Active member
Does anyone have plans that don't involve printing and arts and craft cutting and taping plans together? This seems a simple enough build not to have to print out plans.

I have some old electronics that need a home and are not suitable for an airplane.