Students seek materials and monetary donations for hydrofoil project

Post date: Jan 07, 2015 5:11:55 PM

At the start of the current school year, a new class at Wells High School, Hydrofoils Engineering, began meeting with the goal of designing and constructing an actual 16 foot, human powered hydrofoil boat capable of achieving lift over water. Those involved, including students, two teachers and volunteer advisors from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PSNY) and the U.S.S. Scranton submarine, hope to have this ‘from scratch’ project completed and ready for a test run in Wells Harbor at the end of school in June.

To say this undertaking is ambitious and a bit complex is perhaps an understatement. Technology students with little or no experience with this type of ‘hands-on’ endeavor must employ a mix of math, technology, engineering and science to design, create and integrate hull, propulsion, stabilization and foil systems in order to make this craft move.

As of December, the class, co-taught by Technology teacher Jason Hludik and Physics teacher Chrys Demos, has collected materials and conducted tests including a hydro test experimenting with smoke to simulate water flow. However, to help enhance the project, and make it successful a list of needed materials remains to be filled.

At the top of the list is a 3D printer for rapid prototyping and design testing followed by epoxy resin and production materials for composite hull building including fiber glass cloth, a flow visualization tunnel, vacuum pump, and related vacuum infusion materials for composite structure forming and manufacturing. The cost of these items is estimated to be $8,200.

Since this project is not covered in the school budget, students and teachers must turn to fundraising for donations of material and/or funds to purchase remaining items and components.

Individuals and/or area businesses interested in contributing to the project by making either a financial or material donation need to first contact Jason Hludik or Chrys Demos at Wells High School either by phone at (207) 646-7011 or email to: and

Caption: From September of 2014: Planning to create a hydrofoil are (back row from left to right): Trevor Thompson (PNSY), Rick Cecchetti (PNSY), Dave Hawk (PNSY), Steven Weston (USS Scranton), Kyle Goodale, Ryan Marsh, Jason Hludik, Chrys Demos and Gavin Turnbull. Front row (l to r): Zack Pierce, Nate Ouellette, Erskine Lothrop, Dan Charpentier, Jake Wilson and David Jacobs.

Caption: To gather real time water performance data, students in Hydrofoils Engineering at WHS conduct a hydro test in October employing fan blown smoke into a special box to create a visual representation of water flow.