Travel in Style on an Electric Air Sled

What do you do during the winter months in Ohio? Sledding of course! Sledding normally takes place on hills, but [Peter Sripol] is no slave to the terrain. He’s built an air sled to conquer the barren wastelands of unplowed parking lots. Air sleds aren’t as outlandish as you might think — the Soviet Union had decades of success with them.

The project starts with toboggan style plastic sled. [Peter] built a frame into the plastic using an aluminum square. The frame is used to support a motor pod at the back of the sled. The motor, of course, comes from his DIY electric plane project. Don’t worry — [Peter] didn’t cannibalize his plane. The plane’s motors are being upgraded, and this is one of the originals.

The motor itself is quite a beast. It’s a 150cc equivalent brushless outrunner motor from HobbyKing. It’s not cheap either at around $450 USD.  The motor is controlled by an equally beefy brushless controller wired into a standard R/C car receiver. A pistol grip transmitter makes a great wireless throttle for the system.

Steering is a much more mechanical affair. The sled’s rudder is controlled much like that of an airplane. A steel cable pull-pull system is connected to a stick mounted in front of the pilot. The unreinforced styrofoam rudder turned out to be a weak point in the build — check out the video after the break to see the full story.

41 thoughts on “Travel in Style on an Electric Air Sled

    1. His working aircraft of insulation foam, construction lumber and wire was ingenious and inspiring but my sense of most of most of his projects is that they’re models writ large (and hurriedly), without the usual ruminations about “what happens if…” regarding safety. I hope he’s scared badly before he’s hurt badly.

  1. I like this guy, questioning the $$$ for a motor if duplicating his feat on a tighter budget.

    Motor from a 40v chainsaw:
    http://www.etotheipiplusone.net/?p=4187
    Alibaba source, $20 (MOQ 10):
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.alibaba.com/amp/product/60611710639.html

    Controller:
    https://www.ebay.com/i/232603148076

    Checking the e-bike forums some of these controllers can handle up to 6.5KW
    https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=71128

    Batteries:
    https://lunacycle.com/triangle-52v-panasonic-ga-18650-24ah-pack-high-power-long-range/

    YMMV, but looks like fun either way.

    1. Alibaba motor: Crappy 83% motor efficiency. Looks like an ordinary AC motor rewound for 24V. The PM outrunner in the video is of much higher quality. Trivia: Wasn’t the guy building the sled in this video a member of the Flitetest youtube channel?

  2. Kind of a side note but seeing the picture of the kid on the air sled reminded me of the old ads in the back of Boys Life where they sold the hovercraft from a vacuum cleaner plans haha. Cool build and looks like a lot of fun on the snow :)

  3. I have a old car roof box I have been meaning to take the dump for a while now when I get the round tuits fixed as I’ve got a large van and box trailer anyway since being donated it. Its tore out its mounts which is why I got given it, but I have always looked at its aero shape and thought what a cool adult snow sled it would make. But no steering and only downhill, bit old for that, and prior experiments on my offspring has suggested if I make something scary fast and sleek, they will drive it scary fast into a solid object with no fear, so experimentation has to be controlled.
    But, chainsaw electric motor, rudder and a prop+fan guard on welded alloy frame, I can do that in the shop easy.
    Hmmm….

    1. The hoods (bonnets -Jenny) of a lot of old cars gave their lives to become trailers for snowmobiles.
      Alas, and alack! Their new lives were short as they couldn’t stand up to the bumps!

  4. Go big or go home. Here’s the Madeline Island (Wisconsin) “Windsled” that runs regular ferry service on Lake Superior when the lake ices over. Capable of running through broken ice/water as well.

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