PUPILS at St Matthias Church of Ireland National School in Ballydehob have built their own hovercraft.
The craft was built by the pupils themselves as part of a programme by the school to foster an interest in science.
The hovercraft was recently put through its paces at the local Community Hall in the village.
Spurred on by principal Ian Haseldine’s interest in science, the project is the latest in a series of science-related experiments undertaken by the pupils.
Powered by a motor recycled from an old vacuum cleaner, the hovercraft design involved the cutting of a board on which each passenger could sit into it, a narrow opening was cut through which air from the motor was forced, in order to create the pressurised supply required to inflate the cushion on which the unit hovers.
To control the air cushion, heavy plastic sheeting was attached around the perimeter of the board.
Praising the pupils for their invention, the principal said the hovercraft’s construction involved the study of some fairly advanced scientific and engineering principles, including the study of air pressure and velocity and how this is increased by forcing air through a narrow space.
Susie Hall, a board member at St Matthias NS, said activities such as this capture the imagination of pupils and encourage their interest in a creative and hands-on way.