Students used leaf blowers provided by Armstrong to fabricate self-propelled, steerable, one-driver hovercrafts for the Engineering Design Challenge on April 26.

Inaugural Engineering Design Challenge to Showcase Self-Propelled Hovercrafts

(April 23, 2014) — Self-propelled hovercrafts will zoom across the Armstrong campus on Saturday, April 26 from 1-4 p.m. when the university's Engineering Studies Program hosts the inaugural Engineering Design Challenge.

The event will showcase the ingenuity and creativity of students from Johnson High School, Beach High School, Savannah High School, Savannah Early College and Savannah Christian Preparatory School. Each team, comprised of four to six students, has designed and built a self-propelled hovercraft with the assistance of a project mentor (a current or retired engineer) and Armstrong students. Students used leaf blowers provided by Armstrong to fabricate self-propelled, steerable, one-driver hovercrafts.

“Students have applied fundamental engineering design concepts to incorporate steering, propulsion and lift mechanisms for their single driver hovercrafts,” said Dr. Cameron Coates, associate professor and Interim Engineering Studies Program Coordinator. “We invite the entire Armstrong community to come out and see the hovercraft in action.”

The final competition will include a 40-meter race, a timed maneuver course and a design poster presentation with an engineering journal evaluation. The hovercraft sprint competition will take place at 2:20 p.m.; the maneuvering competition is set for 2:50 p.m. All events will take place in the Arts Drive parking lot, in front of the Armstrong Police Department building.

“This event is a great opportunity to see engineering in action on Armstrong's campus,” said Dr. Wayne Johnson, associate professor of Engineering Studies. “We engage local K-12 students every school year and summer through our various programs to promote interest in engineering and technology. This competitive program allows high school students to develop innovative, functional designs that encourage creative problem solving.”

Engineers from Gulfstream and other local companies will evaluate and select the winning design. The winning team will receive a $500 cash prize.

For more information about the 2014 Engineering Design Challenge, please visit