I've done it! I've built a sky-boat big enough to carry a single person with full control. It is an odd design, mind you, and I may call it a sky-boat only by courtesy; it looks more like a cross between a sedan chair and a four-poster bed. It is not a thing of beauty, being knocked together out of rough scraps of wood, but it works!
At the bottom is a crate, not to put to fine a point on it, longer than it is wide, with the control levers built into one end and a seat at the other. Stout uprights rise from the four corners to above the rider's head, and support an arrangement of crossbars that correspond to the gunwales on my earlier models.
It is these crossbars that provide the lift; and since all of the weight hangs below them the craft is perfectly stable without any need for a vertical stabilizer. Or nearly; I suppose it may rock a bit in the wind, depending on how it is laden. We shall see. But it is easy to get into, at least when it is resting on the floor, and it seems stable enough.
I built it in Amelie's old bedroom (for we have moved into her father's room, it having the larger bed), having moved her bedstead and other furnishings into the store room. I could not build the sky-boat in the store room, it is too crowded already, and also far too cold this time of year to work in for any length of time; and my dearest Amelie forbid me to build any full-scale models in the parlor, for which I can hardly fault her.
The conveyance nearly fills the room; but if I climb into it and work the controls I am able to rise into the air, to make it turn in place through an entire circle, and to move into each corner. As such I regard it as a perfect success!
No doubt I will find other details that require attention when the weather warms up and I am able to build another in another locale; for in my haste and eagerness I neglected to consider that I should have to take it to pieces in order to remove it from the room in which it sits.
Had I been more foresighted, I might have been able to form it in such a way that it could be made to come apart. I say might, for it is the usual goal in things of this nature to form the desired object as a coherent whole. But with a bit of mechanical ingenuity (a skill most disdained by my esteemed father) it might be possible to form the lifting and control elements as a single body, and simply suspend a carrier from them.
I can see that I shall have to procure help from my neighbors if I wish to scale this up to something that will carry multiple people in safety; and at the very least I shall need to extend the house with a workroom—a workroom with large doors to the outside! And it shall have to be properly heated, by a fireplace or possible a wood stove, for Winter is by far the best time to devote to matters of this kind.
I feel quite extravagant pondering any such addition, but Amelie has agreed to it; and I shall not have use of the old bedroom for much longer, even if it were a convenient space, for my beloved has just informed me that we shall quite soon need it as a nursery!
I am so pleased I can hardly sit still. And shortly after spring has come and I can work outside, I shall rebuild my conveyance and pay a visit to the floating island to the north!
photo credit: Timothy Neesam (GumshoePhotos) PEI coastline via photopin (license)