Posts Tagged ‘Hovercraft’

Southseas’s New Hovercraft

October 1, 2017

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Britain have always been at the forefront of Hovercraft design and manufacture. After all, we invented them!

Hovertravel’s cross-Solent service between Ryde (Isle of Wight, UK) and Southsea (near Portsmouth) is the longest running Hovercraft service in the world. It was established in 1965 and has ran ever since using a number of different models of hovercraft over the years. Hovertravel normally provide a two hovercraft service.

In 2016 Hovertravel introduced two new Hovercraft, the 12000TD craft ‘Solent Flyer’ and ‘Island Flyer’.

There were initially some concerns about the comfort and reliability of these new machines, compared to the previous models.

Malcolm

Q: Have you been on one of the new Hovertravel craft? What are they like?

Malcolm says: They can be noisy and bumpy, but it’s quite a thrill ride!

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What Happened To The Giant Hovercraft?

October 1, 2017

Regular readers will know that I’m a big Hovercraft fan.

They were once considered machines of the future, but in the case of the giant car-carrying hovercraft, the SRN4, they are now machines of the past.

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Malcolm says: It seems that the majority of my readers have never been on a Hovercraft. That’s hardly surprising as there are not too many in public service around the world. They can be noisy and bumpy, but it’s quite a thrill ride!

Fast Ferry

August 26, 2016

I know a few of my readers have an interest in ferries and fast-ferries.

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After all the big car ferries (such as Ulysses) are just like state-of-the-art cruise ships with a car deck or two.

Then we also have the fast-ferry technology: often catamarans (Seacats) propelled by water-jets.

Below is a slide-show of the fast-ferry ‘Condor Rapide’:

Regular readers will also know that I am a big fan of HOVERCRAFT.

Malcolm

Princess Margaret

October 6, 2015

Given the fact that I am a bit of a Hovercraft geek, I could not resist sharing the video below with you all:

More about Hovercraft: HERE

Giant Hovercraft

September 25, 2015

Ever since I was a child, I have had a ‘thing’ about Hovercraft, especially the big car carrying SRN4’s that operated from Pegwell Bay, near Ramsgate (below) and Dover. I loved them!

Here is some nice footage of one of these amazing machines, that are sadly no longer operational:

However there are still passenger hovercraft operating daily from Southsea (near Portsmouth) to Ryde, the Isle of Wight. This hovercraft route has operated since 1965:

A Great British Invention for the 21st Century

Two new 12000TD hovercraft are being built for Hovertravel to take passengers from Southsea to the Isle of Wight.

Hovertravel made an official announcement that it is investing in the future of the company by purchasing 2 new 12000TD hovercraft. Hovertravel invited a group of people to view the new hovercraft in production at Griffon Hoverwork, ahead of testing next year.

Hovertravel is the longest serving passenger operator in the world and will be celebrating its 50th year in service next year. The new 22.4m long and 10m wide hovercraft will be able to seat up to 80 passengers and will be fitted with bigger propellers to reduce the level of external noise. See top right image.

The new hovercraft will bring quieter journeys and a quicker turnaround, as well as looking sleeker. Chief Pilot Peter Mulhern has been involved in the plans for the new craft ‘We are taking it down from four engines to two, the benefit of that is that noise is reduced by almost half. Another idea was to have the doors at the front. We have a five-minute turnaround to keep the service on time, by doing away with the steps and having to deflate the skirt every time it will be quicker. People will be able to use a ramp and just get their bike or wheelchair straight on.’

The front loading craft will have an ramp on one side of the entrance and steps on the other, this change in design will allow bicycles, wheelchairs and suitcases to go straight inside the craft. The seats are also expected to be quick release, to allow more space for luggage during the festival season.

Neil Chapman managing director of Hovertravel says ‘This is just another legacy for the future of us to make sure we are a prominent part of the seafront. Customers are very loyal to us but they want to see investment going forward. This brings it.’

The craft entered service in  2016.

(Griffon Hoverworks)

12000TD Solent Flyer Ryde Low Res

(image courtesy of Griffon Hoverworks)

Hovercraft – A Love Affair

May 4, 2014

Many decades ago, when I was a kid, I saw my first Hovercraft, the SRN1 on the Isle of Wight (UK). This was one of the first production Hovercraft in passenger operation.

It was love at first sight: this big machine left the sea and roared up the beach, to stop and deflate like a burst car tyre. After quickly swapping passengers, it re-inflated and rotated 180 degrees like a prima-ballerina, making the transition from beach to sea effortlessly.

I was later to see and experience the SRN6 Hovercraft running a passenger service from Southsea (near Portsmouth, UK) to Ryde, the isle of Wight. This route, which takes just ten minute, is the longest running Hovercraft route in the world. It started in 1965 and still operates daily.

Sitting inside the SRN6 was a rather noisy experience and the spray prevented you from actually seeing much out of the windows, but nevertheless, I loved it.

In the early 1970’s I regularly viewed the giant car carrying Hovercraft (SRN4’s) at Dover and Ramsgate (Pegwell Bay).These mainly went to Calais (France), taking just 30 minutes. The giant machines initially carried 30 cars and 250 passengers. They were of course even more impressive and even more noisy. Later the SRN4 Mk.III had a capacity of 418 passengers and 60 cars.

Mum & Dad took to Calais for the day, on one. What a thrill, although sea conditions on the day made it a very bumpy ride.

In 2000 the last SRN6’s were retired from the Dover route, due to rising fuel costs. There are now no car carrying Hovercraft in commercial service, but my love still lives on.

More Hovercraft slide-shows: Here

Seacat: Here